US babies, toddlers consume sugar well beyond recommended levels

14 June, 2018, 03:57 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • A recent study by the CDC said many young children are getting too much added sugar

And yet new data presented this week (June 10) at the American Society for Nutrition's annual meeting show that American infants are consuming excessive amounts of added sugar in their diets, much more than the amounts now recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) and other medical organizations.

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", stated Kirsten Herrick, a nutritional epidemiologist at the CDC and the study's leading author, for ABC News. For the 6- to 11-month-olds, 61 percent of the sugar in their diet was added sugar. There are statistically proven links between high sugar and asthma and heart diseases. Herrick and her team found that the amount of added sugar increased along with a child's age. But for children ages 2 to 19 and adult women the suggested limit is 6 teaspoons or less. 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.

"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 advises. Since 1960, around 190,000 people have taken part in the study in total. Almost 98 to 99 percent of the sugar consumed by 1- and 2-year-olds was added sugar. The measured amount of extra sugar reportedly consumed by the children in the study was based entirely on the parent's memory. "Our results show that added sugar consumption begins early in life and exceeds current recommendations". "These data may be relevant to the upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans", she said in a society news release.

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The CDC added sugar study did have an explicit limitation. 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. High sugar consumption is also related to high levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure.

"Added sugars" are sugars added as a powder or sucrose syrup.

The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that sweetened beverages are the major source of added sugars in typical U.S. diets-in fact, they account for 47% of all added sugars consumed by Americans. As such, the findings presented should be considered preliminary until a peer-reviewed publication is available. The problem will be even bigger as they will get older, a new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control concludes.

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