Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

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

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

That rose to 98 percent among those babies 12 to 18 months, who averaged 5.5 teaspoons of added sugar a day.

Americans love affair with sugar starts at a very early age as many toddlers are consuming added sugar at levels that exceed the maximum amount recommended for adults, a new study has found. To measure the consumption of added sugar, the researchers documented foods containing cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey and other forms of sugar. According to the CDC children under the age of 2 should not get added sugar at all. At least 60 percent of the children were consuming added sugars before their first birthday, the study found.

"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", said Herrick.

The study comes at a time when one in six children and adolescents in the USA are obese. They do not include naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruits, vegetables, and milk. High sugar consumption is bad for children specifically as it sets poor diet preferences that may lead to them developing bad nutritional choices later in life.

That oldest group consumed an average of 7.1 teaspoons of added sugar each day - more than the amount of sugar in a Snickers bar.

The parents of the study participants were asked to note down everything their child ate in a 24-hour period. That's perhaps why, unlike the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the 2020-2025 edition will include dietary recommendations for infants and toddlers under two.

Almost every toddler consumed added sugar. It's even worse: toddlers often get sugary drinks and desserts.

The latest nutritional guidelines for the US, which were updated in 2015 and will be reviewed in 2020, do not give recommendations for children under the age of two. Previous research suggests most Americans exceed those limits. Men, on the other hand, need 150 calories or about 9 or less teaspoons per day.

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.

The data revealed that 85% of the children involved in the study ate added sugar on any given day, and the amount they consumed crept up as they aged.

But high amounts of added sugar can be hidden in seemingly healthy food: a single-size serving of yogurt with fruit at the bottom can contain up to six teaspoons of sugar.

"Added sugars" are sugars added as a powder or sucrose syrup. There were no differences in added sugar consumption by race among infants 6-11 months.

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