Toddlers consuming too much added sugar, study finds

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

Toddlers in America are getting too much added sugar. In fact, in some cases, babies are consuming more added sugar than the maximum amount recommended for adults.

Added sugar is sugar that's put in food during preparation or processing.

Researchers at the CDC wanted to study the sugar intake of kids under two.

"This is the first time we have looked at added sugar consumption among children less than 2 years old", she said. Ninety-nine percent of toddlers ages 19-23 months took in an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar on a given day.

Consuming a high amount of sugar is linked to high levels of cavities, asthma, obesity as well as risk of cardiovascular diseases later on life. And as children grow up, their preference for unhealthy foods is likely influenced by a sugar-filled diet in early life, according to researchers.

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But most Americans exceed those limits. She presented the findings on Sunday 10 June at Nutrition 2018, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition held in Boston.

Parents of 800 children aged 6 to 23 months were questioned on what their child's "added sugar" consumption was in a 24-hour period.

The US government's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) does not include guidelines specific for children under age 2 although the 2020-2025 edition, soon to be in development, will include dietary recommendations for infants and toddlers. There were no differences in added sugar consumption by race among infants 6-11 months. Added sugar consumption was highest among non-Hispanic black children and lowest among non-Hispanic white children in kids aged between 12 and 23 months.

The researchers explain that foods that contain added sugars are not beneficial for the body as they do not provide the benefits that fruits and vegetables that naturally contain sugars provide.

The CDC added sugar study did have an explicit limitation.

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Even if the food sounds healthy, it can contain a large dose of added sugar.

According to American Heart Association, the children who are below 2 years old should avoid consuming food items which consist of added sugar, including baked goods, sugary drinks desserts, ready to eat cereals, candy and yogurt. However, parents should always have the goal to give their children less added sugar, say the researchers of the study.

The team plans to further investigate the data, including examining trends over time.

Please note that abstracts presented at Nutrition 2018 were evaluated and selected by a committee of experts but have not generally undergone the same peer review process required for publication in a scientific journal.

"The AHA recommends reading ingredients" nutritional labels carefully, since "sugar has many other names".

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