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

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

Among those age 12-18 months, 98 percent consumed added sugar, averaging 5.5 teaspoons.

Americans love affair with sugar starts at a very early age as many toddlers are consuming added sugar at levels that exceed the maximum amount recommended for adults, a new study has found. Additional resources on infant and toddler nutrition are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. But that affinity for the sweet stuff starts as early as infancy, with some babies consuming added sugar that exceeds maximum levels recommended for adults, USA researchers report.

Ready-to-eat cereals, bakery items, sugar-sweetened beverages, yogurt, and candy can be major sources of added sugar. Sixty percent of children were found to consume added sugar before age 1. The team analysed the amount of sugar consumed by checking on amounts of cane sugar, honey, other forms of sugar such as high-fructose corn syrup etc. Sugars found naturally in fruits, vegetables and milk were not included in the analysis as were artificial zero-calorie sweeteners. Added sugar is especially bad for children, as it sets diet preferences that could lead them to make poor nutritional choices later in life. Ninety-nine percent of toddlers ages 19-23 months took in an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar on a given day. In the survey, parents were asked to track everything their children ate in a 24-hour period. "These data may be relevant to the upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans", she said in a society news release. The body metabolizes natural and added sugars in the same way. By 19 to 23 months, 99% of children ate an average of over seven teaspoons of added sugar on a given day. It's even worse: toddlers often get sugary drinks and desserts. But they do suggest adults avoid exceeding more than 12 teaspoons of added sugar each day, based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Herrick said the best way to cut sugar from the diets of children and adults is to "choose foods that you know don't have them, like fresh fruits and vegetables".

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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.

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

"The AHA recommends reading ingredients" nutritional labels carefully, since "sugar has many other names". However, the scientists behind the study are now planning on analyzing the products with added sugar that kids usually consume. It is the easiest way to supply the energy, however added sugars come with the catch - the "sugar tolerance" will be formed eventually.

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