Unfortunately, consuming these foods in excess starts when we are young, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. But for children ages 2 to 19 and adult women the suggested limit is 6 teaspoons or less.
Many toddlers get more than the maximum amount suggested for adults, the study found.
The body processes sugars from foods such as fruits and chocolates in the same way-but the processed sugars in products like the latter are believed to be worse for our health.
In the US, at least one in five children ages 6 to 19 years old is obese, according to the CDC.
The researchers pointed out that toddlers really should be getting sugar from fruits and vegetables, not from foods with added sugar. Eating foods with added sugar also can influence a child's food preferences, potentially leading to less healthy food choices later in life, researchers say. Those who were between 19 and 23 months were found to consume an average of more than 7 teaspoons of added sugar on a given day.
In the survey, researchers instructed parents to write down what they fed their children in a 24-hour period.
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".
This tracks (pdf) with an increase in U.S. sugar intake broadly: In 1970, Americans ate 123 pounds of sugar per year, and today, the average American consumes nearly 152 pounds of sugar per year.
The results indicate that 85 percent of infants and toddlers consumed added sugar on a given day. "These data may be relevant to the upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans". "Our results show that added sugar consumption begins early in life and exceeds current recommendations".
Consumption of added sugar among Americans has been a widely discussed subject. Children were also found to consume added sugar before the age of one. As for children under the age of 2, it is recommended that they avoid eating foods containing added sugar altogether.
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. 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. It is the easiest way to supply the energy, however added sugars come with the catch - the "sugar tolerance" will be formed eventually. "When hefty doses of these types of added sugars are eaten, it can lead to weight gain and poorly controlled blood sugar levels".
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