Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Added Sugar Consumption In Toddlers Is On The Rise In The US

Added Sugar Consumption In Toddlers Is On The Rise In The US

A new study has shown that children in the United States are consuming too much added sugars and their daily intake exceeds the amounts recommended for adults.

Most toddlers in the US eat more sugar every day than is recommended for adults, according to a study.

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

"Once kids start eating table food, they're often eating the same types of foods that Mom and Dad have in their diet, and other research has demonstrated that adults exceed recommendations for added sugar too", said Herrick.

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"This is the first time we have looked at added sugar consumption among children less than 2 years", Kirsten Herrick, a nutritional epidemiologist from the CDC, told ABC News. It has been linked to higher rates of obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure, along with dental cavities. "Our results show that added sugar consumption begins early in life and exceeds current recommendations". She would be presenting this study results at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting during Nutrition 2018, to be held June 9-12, 2018 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.

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

The DGA will likely be updated in the 2020-2025 edition to include young children. It is the easiest way to supply the energy, however added sugars come with the catch - the "sugar tolerance" will be formed eventually. But by the time children reached between 1 and 2 years old, that amount was even higher: 98 to 99 percent of the sugar those children ate was added. According to the CDC children under the age of 2 should not get added sugar at all.

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In the future, researchers will investigate the specific foods children consume their added sugar. 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. "Besides those ending in "ose, ' such as maltose or sucrose", the guidelines say, "other names for sugar include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey or fruit juice concentrates".

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". Dried fruits are also loaded with sugar - there are 21 teaspoons in one cup of dried fruit alone. As such, the findings presented should be considered preliminary until a peer-reviewed publication is available.

But parents have not been heeding that advice, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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