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.
As well as causing obesity, eating excess sugar can lead to dental problems and is linked to asthma and risk factors of cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. The research titled "Consumption of added sugars among USA infants aged 6-23 months, 2011-2014" was presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting in Boston on June 10. That's more than the amount found in a Snickers bar.
The body processes all types of sugars in the same way, but those added to food are believed to be more harmful. The children were aged between 6 and 23 months. Seven teaspoons of added sugar, twice the amount in a cup of chocolate milk, was the average for toddlers between 19 and 23 months.
The study analyzed data from more than 800 infants and toddlers between 6 and 23 months old in the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey research study. They also found that the amount and consumption went up dramatically as the child grew older. "Our results show that added sugar consumption begins early in life and exceeds current recommendations". That rose to 98 percent among those babies 12 to 18 months, who averaged 5.5 teaspoons of added sugar a day. The Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020 reveals that sugar-sweetened beverages make up 39 percent of added sugars in an average American's diet.
The latest nutritional guidelines for the USA, which were updated in 2015 and will be reviewed in 2020, do not give recommendations for children under the age of two. These added sugars raise the daily calorie intake of the child.
Another 60 percent of the children were getting extra sugar in their diet before they were a year old. Regardless of the recommendations, most people in the US eat more than this limit, research shows.
Dr. Herrick said the easiest method of reducing added sugars in one's own and one's children's diets is to choose foods that do not contain added sugars such as fruits and vegetables. These could be from bakery foods or ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, desserts or sweets and candy.