Sugar consumption by toddlers exceeds adult recommendations

Americans are advised to keep added sugars to less than 10 percent of their total diet. Seven teaspoons of added sugar, twice the amount in a cup of chocolate milk, was the average for toddlers between 19 and 23 months.

This study was carried out with the participation of the parents of 800 children from Maryland, aged between 6 and 23 months, who were consuming added sugars.

Lead study author Kirsten Herrick, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said, "This is the first time we have looked at added sugar consumption among children less than 2 years old..." The children were aged between 6 and 23 months. 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.

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Those aged between two to 19 years old as well as adult women should not eat more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day, rising to nine for men.

According to the results, the researchers found that numerous children in the study ate more added sugar than the recommended amount for adults. Almost 98 to 99 percent of the sugar consumed by 1- and 2-year-olds was added sugar. "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. In a 24 hour window period, all the foods that the child was consuming was recorded.

In the future, researchers will investigate the specific foods children consume their added sugar. 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. Factoring in added sugar taken with coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages, the number gets bumped up to 47 percent. However, parents should always have the goal to give their children less added sugar, say the researchers of the study. 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. Past studies have pointed towards breakfast cereals, cakes and desserts, sugary drinks, yogurt and candy as the biggest culprits.

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