Americans' Obsession With Sugar Starts in Infancy

Carroll- Sugary Cereal

Among those age 12-18 months, 98 percent consumed added sugar, averaging 5.5 teaspoons.

Another serious situation shapes up in the U.S., as a recent study carried out by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) revealed an increasingly higher added sugar consumption in toddlers. To assess added sugar, researchers counted any calorie-containing sugars that were added to a food item, including cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey and other forms of sugar.

The CDC just recently launched a website that gives parents advice on diets that limit certain foods and drinks for toddlers and babies.

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 finding showed that the amount of added sugar consumed increased with the age of a child.

Added sugars include any sugar used in processing or preparing foods and beverages, or any sugar added to food at the table.

Eating foods with added sugar at an early age can influence food preferences that set a pattern for less healthy food choices later in life, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

Researchers noted that in their sample of participants, 99 percent of the toddles aged between 19 and 23 months were consuming an average of over 7 teaspoons of added sugar each day.

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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.

The researchers explain that foods that contain added sugars are not beneficial for the body as they do not provide the benefits that fruits and vegetables that naturally contain sugars provide. "These data may be relevant to the upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans", she said in a society news release.

These properties of added sugar contributes to its effects. By 19 to 23 months, 99% of children ate an average of over seven teaspoons of added sugar on a given day. But sugar consumption among toddlers was even worse. Parents of more than 80% of kids aged six to 23 months reported their children consumed at least some added sugar on a given day.

Federal dietary guidelines don't now include recommendations for that age group. As for children under the age of 2, it is recommended that they avoid eating foods containing added sugar altogether.

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

The CDC added sugar study did have an explicit limitation.

Despite these recommendations, however, a previous study shows that the majority of Americans consume more than what they're supposed to. Dried fruits are also loaded with sugar - there are 21 teaspoons in one cup of dried fruit alone.

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