US Infants Eating More Added Sugar Than Adult Limits Before 2nd Birthday

The extra sugar only adds calories and does not contribute anything nutritionally.

Kirsten Herrick, a nutritional epidemiologist at the CDC, examined 24-hour food consumption patterns of a nationally representative sample including more than 800 infants and toddlers aged 6 to 23 months old. And as children grow up, their preference for unhealthy foods is likely influenced by a sugar-filled diet in early life, according to researchers. While it doesn't actually have a chemical difference from natural sugar in fruits, vegetables, and dairy, the added sugar are reportedly more harmful due to its tendency of displacing nutritional components and adding significant calories to the diet. While 60 percent of those between the ages of 6 and 11 months old were found to eat added sugar on a given day.

According to the results, the researchers found that numerous children in the study ate more added sugar than the recommended amount for adults. Children were also found to consume added sugar before the age of one. This exceeded the daily recommended limit (for added sugar) which is 6 teaspoons or less for children aged 2 to 19 as well as adult women.

Consuming added sugar has been linked to a host of health problems including skyrocketing obesity rates and increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.

"This is the first time we have looked at added sugar consumption among children less than 2 years old", she said.

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The study is expected to be presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting during Nutrition 2018.

In the future, researchers will investigate the specific foods children consume their added sugar.

"The easiest way to reduce added sugars in your own diet and your kids' diet is to choose foods that you know don't have them, like fresh fruits and vegetables", Herrick said. Factoring in added sugar taken with coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages, the number gets bumped up to 47 percent. By the time the children were between 19 to 23 months of age, 99 percent were taking in an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar per day.

The researchers say that at present there are no specific recommendations for children under the age of 2 years in the USA government's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).

Despite these recommendations, however, a previous study shows that the majority of Americans consume more than what they're supposed to.

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