Sugar consumption by toddlers exceeds adult recommendations

Children Eating Sweets

Toddlers Consume More 'Added Sugar' Than The Recommended Amount For Adults

More than half of 6 to 11-month-olds surveyed were given added sugar on a given day.

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.

From run-of-the-mill granulated white sugar to high fructose corn syrup, dietitian Dana Angelo White explained how "these sweeteners are a pure source of carbohydrate and have about 15 calories per teaspoon". Additional resources on infant and toddler nutrition are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued by the US government, recommends children between 2 and 19, limit added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons per day. This is close to, or more than, the amount of sugar recommended by AHA for adult women (six teaspoons) and men (nine teaspoons).

Sugars added to soda or candy or processed foods are usually just that, sugar. Sixty percent of children were found to consume added sugar before age 1.

Added sugars include any sugar used in processing or preparing foods and beverages, or any sugar added to food at the table. The earlier patient is introduces to high sugar consumption, the heavier the consequences he or she will face during the life. AHA's guidelines state that kids of this age "should avoid consuming any added sugar, since they need nutrient-rich diets and are developing taste preferences".

Moreover, the oldest children in the study, between the age of 19 to 23 months, consumed an average of around seven teaspoons of added sugar each day, which is more than the amount of sugar present in a Kit Kat bar, the findings of the study showed. In a 24 hour window period, all the foods that the child was consuming was recorded. However soon to be developed is the 2020-2025 edition that will outline the recommended amounts of sugars and fats children under 2 should consume.

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

Although the US government's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) states Americans over the age of 2 should consume less than 10 percent of their daily calories from added sugar, they do not yet include recommendations for children under 2.

The results indicate that 85 percent of infants and toddlers consumed added sugar on a given day. She said that future studies are aiming at looking at the types of foods that are contributing to the excess sugar intake in kids as well.

Federal dietary guidelines don't now include recommendations for that age group. Since 1960, around 190,000 people have taken part in the study in total. Ketchup and other condiments are often loaded with added sugar as well.

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