Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Medical | By

Americans' Obsession With Sugar Starts in Infancy

Americans' Obsession With Sugar Starts in Infancy

Almost 98 to 99 percent of the sugar consumed by 1- and 2-year-olds was added sugar.

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. "And other research has demonstrated that adults exceed recommendations for added sugar too".

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued by the USA government, recommends children between 2 and 19, limit added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons per day.

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

Ready-to-eat cereals, bakery items, sugar-sweetened beverages, yogurt, and candy can be major sources of added sugar.

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

But the earlier sugar intake begins, the harder the habit becomes to kick later in life. CDC report warns that toddlers are facing the highest level of added sugars in their diets - and it will pay off dearly during the life of the generation to come. Ninety-nine percent of toddlers ages 19-23 months took in an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar on a given day.

The study is limited in some ways because sugar consumption was measured based on parent's memory of what their child ate during a short period of time.

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

But most Americans exceed those limits.

Although the USA 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. At present the guidelines recommend using 6 teaspoons or less daily in individuals aged between 2 to 19 years and adult women and less than 9 teaspoons for adult men per day.

"The easiest way to reduce added sugars in your own diet and your kids' diet is to choose foods that you know don't have them, like fresh fruits and vegetables", Herrick said.

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. Other studies have suggested added sugar consumption among American children has declined over the years. However, the scientists behind the study are now planning on analyzing the products with added sugar that kids usually consume.

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