Americans' Obsession With Sugar Starts in Infancy

Americans' Obsession With Sugar Starts in Infancy

Americans' Obsession With Sugar Starts in Infancy

Look at an average American toddler's diet, and you'll find added sugar, a new study found - sometimes more of the sweet stuff than even their parents should be eating.

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.

"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 CDC. While 60 percent of those between the ages of 6 and 11 months old were found to eat added sugar on a given day.

Now, according to the CDC, all these pediatric illnesses are triggered by a higher added sugar consumption than normal in toddlers across the U.S. and the experts recommend parent to avoid feeding their children with products that are known to contain added sugar, such as sweetened cereals, candies, sweet sodas, fruity yogurts, and so on. Too much sugar during pregnancy adversely impacts child cognition, while excess sugar intake during adolescence has been associated with weight gain and cardiac risks, which include an increased risk of obesity and elevated blood pressure. But that affinity for the sweet stuff starts as early as infancy, with some babies consuming added sugar that exceeds maximum levels recommended for adults, USA researchers report.

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There is no chemical difference between sugars that are found naturally in fruits, vegetables and milk and sugars that are added to food products during processing or preparation.

What can parents do to reduce their kids' sugar intake?

The results revealed that 85 percent of the toddlers and infants studied were consuming added sugars in their daily diet.

Despite these recommendations, however, a previous study shows that the majority of Americans consume more than what they're supposed to.

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The added sugar included cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and honey. 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. Men, on the other hand, need 150 calories or about 9 or less teaspoons per day.

The researchers say that at present there are no specific recommendations for children under the age of 2 years in the USA government's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). However, parents should always have the goal to give their children less added sugar, say the researchers of the study.

The demographic that ate the most sugar were non-Hispanic black children aged between 12 to 23 months, while white children ate the least.

However, the study has limitations because the added sugar consumption was measured basis the memory of parents of what their kid ate. In addition, the study has not been peer-reviewed. Ketchup and other condiments are often loaded with added sugar as well.

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