American Toddlers Eat So Much 'Added Sugar' That They Exceed Adult Recommendations

A new study suggests children in America are eating too much sugar and too soon

A new study suggests children in America are eating too much sugar and too soon

According to the results, the researchers found that numerous children in the study ate more added sugar than the recommended amount for adults.

"This is the first time we have looked at added sugar consumption among children less than 2 years", Kirsten Herrick, a nutritional epidemiologist from the CDC, told ABC News. They were all part of the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a research study. Those who were between 19 and 23 months were found to consume an average of more than 7 teaspoons of added sugar on a given day.

Excessive sugar consumption is one of the most known common origin of obesity, dental degradation.

"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", Herrick said. She presented the findings on Sunday 10 June at Nutrition 2018, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition held in Boston. "Our results show that added sugar consumption begins early in life and exceeds current recommendations".

The researchers pointed out that toddlers really should be getting sugar from fruits and vegetables, not from foods with added sugar. "These data may be relevant to the upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans".

How can people reduce their intake of added sugars?

Added sugars include brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose, according to the CDC. At present the guidelines recommend using 6 teaspoons or less daily in individuals aged between 2 to 19 years and adult women and less than 9 teaspoons for adult men per day.

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". Factoring in added sugar taken with coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages, the number gets bumped up to 47 percent. For the 6- to 11-month-olds, 61 percent of the sugar in their diet was added sugar.

Researchers say 60 percent of children have sugar before their first birthday, and consumption rises with age. As for children under the age of 2, it is recommended that they avoid eating foods containing added sugar altogether. These could be from bakery foods or ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, desserts or sweets and candy.