US babies, toddlers consume sugar well beyond recommended levels

Carroll- Sugary Cereal

Toddlers are eating too much added sugar, and their consumption is increasing as they get older, according to a new study by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ABC News reported on Sunday.

The study comes at a time when one in six children and adolescents in the US are obese.

According to both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association, children under the age of 2 shouldn't consume foods or drinks with added sugars at all.

Researchers found sugar consumption starts early in life and increases as babies develop. "These data may be relevant to the upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans", she said in a society news release. The research titled "Consumption of added sugars among USA infants aged 6-23 months, 2011-2014" was presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting in Boston on June 10.

All sugars are essentially handled the same in the body but sugar found in fruit and milk, for example, is accompanied by fiber and other nutrients.

Children, particularly toddlers, who consume sugary foods are much more likely to make poor diet choices later in life.

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In the survey, researchers instructed parents to write down what they fed their children in a 24-hour period. 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. Zero-calorie sweeteners and sugars that are present naturally in foods were not counted. By 19 to 23 months, 99% of children ate an average of over seven teaspoons of added sugar on a given day.

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. By 19-23 months, 99 percent of children consumed an average of just over 7 teaspoons of added sugar on a given day.

The researchers say that at present there are no specific recommendations for children under the age of 2 years in the United States government's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).

Excessive sugar consumption is one of the most known common origin of obesity, dental degradation. This exceeded the daily recommended limit (for added sugar) which is 6 teaspoons or less for children aged 2 to 19 as well as adult women. Regardless of the recommendations, most people in the USA eat more than this limit, research shows. 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.

The CDC added sugar study did have an explicit limitation.

The demographic that ate the most sugar were non-Hispanic black children aged between 12 to 23 months, while white children ate the least.

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