CDC: Toddlers In US Eating Too Much Sugar

  • CDC: Toddlers In US Eating Too Much Sugar

CDC: Toddlers In US Eating Too Much Sugar

A new study suggests children in the U.S. begin consuming added sugar at a very young age and that many toddlers' sugar intake exceeds the maximum amount recommended for adults. By the time toddlers reached 19 to 23 months of age, they were averaging more than 7 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Herrick and her team found that the amount of added sugar increased along with a child's age. The researchers explain that these kids could also be at risk of making bad food choices later in life.

"This is the first time we have looked at added sugar consumption among children less than 2 years old", said lead study author Kirsten Herrick, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Regardless of the recommendations, most people in the USA eat more than this limit, research shows.

Herrick said the findings could have implications for the upcoming revision of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 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. 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. That's because they don't have the same nutritional value, such as vitamins and fiber, as unprocessed foods and contain high levels of calories.

Researchers cataloged food items that contained extra cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey and other sugars.

Herrick and her team looked at data from over 800 infants and toddlers for this study. The finding came as a result of a study done on children between the ages of 6 and 23 months old. In a 24 hour window period, all the foods that the child was consuming was recorded. Almost 98 to 99 percent of the sugar consumed by 1- and 2-year-olds was added sugar. But sugar consumption among toddlers was even worse. While 60 percent of those between the ages of 6 and 11 months old were found to eat added sugar on a given day.

According to the American Heart Association, female adults are recommended to eat no more than 100 calories or 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day.

The demographic that ate the most sugar were non-Hispanic black children aged between 12 to 23 months, while white children ate the least. These differences were not seen in the younger age group.

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.

How is added sugar different from natural sugar?