U.S. Babies, Toddlers Eat Way Too Much Added Sugar, Study Finds

13 June, 2018, 20:32 | Author: Sherman Richardson

Children love sugar, but they may be getting fed so much more than a healthy amount, according to a new study.

Researchers noted that in their sample of participants, 99 percent of the toddles aged between 19 and 23 months were consuming an average of over 7 teaspoons of added sugar each day. It has been linked to higher rates of obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure, along with dental cavities.

The study comes at a time when one in six children and adolescents in the USA are obese. The researchers explain that these kids could also be at risk of making bad food choices later in life. But for children ages 2 to 19 and adult women the suggested limit is 6 teaspoons or less. The Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020 reveals that sugar-sweetened beverages make up 39 percent of added sugars in an average American's diet. They were all part of the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a research study.

The study is expected to be presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting during Nutrition 2018. 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. In order to evaluate added sugar consumption, the researchers included any calorie-containing sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup but excluded naturally occurring sugars such as fruits.

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"Once kids start eating table food, they're often eating the same types of foods that Mom and Dad have in their diet, and other research has demonstrated that adults exceed recommendations for added sugar too", said Herrick. Between the ages of six to 11 months, just over 60% of babies ate added sugar on a given day, at around under one teaspoon on average.

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

They found that 85 percent of the infants and toddlers consumed added sugar on a given day and that added sugar consumption rose with age. The DGA will likely be updated in the 2020-2025 edition to include young children. Past studies have pointed towards breakfast cereals, cakes and desserts, sugary drinks, yogurt and candy as the biggest culprits.

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