US Infants Eating More Added Sugar Than Adult Limits Before 2nd Birthday

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

And yet new data presented this week (June 10) at the American Society for Nutrition's annual meeting show that American infants are consuming excessive amounts of added sugar in their diets, much more than the amounts now recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) and other medical organizations.

Ninety-nine percent of the toddlers were eating more than seven teaspoons of added sugar a day, which is more than that found in a Snickers bar.

Children between 6 to 11 months consumed 61 percent of added sugar but when these kids reached the age between 1 to 2 years, the amount of added sugar consumed increased between 98 to 99 percent. Too much sugar during pregnancy adversely impacts child cognition, while excess sugar intake during adolescence has been associated with weight gain and cardiac risks, which include an increased risk of obesity and elevated blood pressure. At least 60 percent of the children were consuming added sugars before their first birthday, the study found. By the time the children were between 19 to 23 months of age, 99 percent were taking in an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar per day.

The body processes all types of sugars in the same way, but those added to food are believed to be more harmful.

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". It is the easiest way to supply the energy, however added sugars come with the catch - the "sugar tolerance" will be formed eventually.

In the survey, researchers instructed parents to write down what they fed their children in a 24-hour period. "Our results show that added sugar consumption begins early in life and exceeds current recommendations".

However, the study has limitations because the added sugar consumption was measured basis the memory of parents of what their kid ate.

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The added sugar included cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and honey.

Herrick said the findings could have implications for the upcoming revision of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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.

The DGA will likely be updated in the 2020-2025 edition to include young children. For adult men, the limit is 9 teaspoons or less of added sugar per day.

In the future, researchers will investigate the specific foods children consume their added sugar.

The team plans to further investigate the data, including examining trends over time. Dried fruits are also loaded with sugar - there are 21 teaspoons in one cup of dried fruit alone.

Kirsten Herrick will present this research on Sunday, June 10, from 4:45-5 p.m.in the Hynes Convention Center, Room 306 (abstract). In addition, the study has not been peer-reviewed.

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