American toddlers consume too much added sugar

A new study has found that toddlers eat an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar each day

Toddlers in America are getting too much added sugar.

That oldest group consumed an average of 7.1 teaspoons of added sugar each day - more than the amount of sugar in a Snickers bar.

"This is the first time we have looked at added sugar consumption among children less than 2 years old", Herrick said. At age 6-11 months, just over 60 percent of babies consumed added sugar on a given day, averaging just under 1 teaspoon. And as children grow up, their preference for unhealthy foods is likely influenced by a sugar-filled diet in early life, according to researchers. Excessive sugar intake is linked to obesity, cavities, asthma, and risk factors for heart disease. 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.

The American Heart Association already recommends that children under the age of 2 avoid food with added sugars, including ready-to-eat cereals, baked goods, desserts, sugary drinks, yogurt, and candy. They do not include naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruits, vegetables, and milk. Children will consider food without added sugar "not tasty". It is the easiest way to supply the energy, however added sugars come with the catch - the "sugar tolerance" will be formed eventually. The Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020 reveals that sugar-sweetened beverages make up 39 percent of added sugars in an average American's diet. In a 24 hour window period, all the foods that the child was consuming was recorded. Regardless of the recommendations, most people in the US eat more than this limit, research shows. "These data may be relevant to the upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans". "Besides those ending in "ose, ' such as maltose or sucrose", the guidelines say, "other names for sugar include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey or fruit juice concentrates".

The latest nutritional guidelines for the US, which were updated in 2015 and will be reviewed in 2020, do not give recommendations for children under the age of two. Added sugar consumption was highest among non-Hispanic black children and lowest among non-Hispanic white children in kids aged between 12 and 23 months.

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

The CDC added sugar study did have an explicit limitation.

"The AHA recommends reading ingredients" nutritional labels carefully, since "sugar has many other names".

Kirsten Herrick will present this research on Sunday, June 10, from 4:45-5 p.m.in the Hynes Convention Center, Room 306 (abstract).

Please note that abstracts presented at Nutrition 2018 were evaluated and selected by a committee of experts but have not generally undergone the same peer review process required for publication in a scientific journal.

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