Toddlers In US Eating Too Much Sugar — CDC

Desiree Burns
June 14, 2018

The American toddlers are consuming way too much of added sugar while the problem gets worse when they start getting older, says a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Accordingly, kids between 1 and 2 years of age were consuming added sugar nearly exclusively and the consumed amount is equal to 7 teaspoons of sugar per day.

"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.

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. High sugar consumption is bad for children specifically as it sets poor diet preferences that may lead to them developing bad nutritional choices later in life.

Eating foods with added sugar leads to a number of health conditions, including obesity, cavities and possibly heart disease.

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

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. Other research has shown that both eating too much naturally occurring sugar and processed sugar can change receptors in the brain, increasing cravings for sweet foods. So, parents might want to consider cutting soft drinks, fruit drinks, and flavored waters out of their toddlers' diets, in addition to snacks and candies, the second major source of added sugars.

How can people reduce their intake of added sugars?

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For the 6- to 11-month-olds, 61 percent of the sugar in their diet was added sugar. Previous research suggests most Americans exceed those limits.

Herrick said the findings could have implications for the upcoming revision of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To assess added sugar, researchers counted any calorie-containing sugars that were added to a food item, including cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey and other forms of sugar.

Parents can expect recommendations for young children to be in place for the 2020-2025 DGA guidelines, but for now, less added sugar should always be the goal.

Among children aged 12-23 months, Herrick said added sugar consumption was highest among non-Hispanic black children and lowest among non-Hispanic white children.

"Added sugars" are sugars added as a powder or sucrose syrup.

The data revealed that 85% of the children involved in the study ate added sugar on any given day, and the amount they consumed crept up as they aged. Contact the media team for more information or to obtain a free press pass to attend the meeting.

The researchers arrived at this finding after conducting a survey with parents and their children who were between the ages of 6 and 23 months old.

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