Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

US Babies, Toddlers Eat Way Too Much Added Sugar, Study Finds

US Babies, Toddlers Eat Way Too Much Added Sugar, Study Finds

Eating foods with these extra sugars as a young child can influence diet choices later in life, researchers said.

"This is the first time we have looked at added sugar consumption among children less than 2 years old", stated Kirsten Herrick, a nutritional epidemiologist at the CDC and the study's leading author, for ABC News.

The researchers analyzed data from 800 infants and toddlers between 6 and 23 months old in the 2011-2014 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

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.

However, the study's results could be unintentionally biased as it was based on parents' answers, thus, it can't be taken as a 100% conclusive study.

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

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.

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There is no chemical difference between natural sugars in fruits, vegetables, and milk, and processed sugars.

They found that 85 percent of the infants and toddlers consumed added sugar on a given day and that added sugar consumption rose with age. The Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020 reveals that sugar-sweetened beverages make up 39 percent of added sugars in an average American's diet. Further studies are planned that will better evaluate the specific sources of added sugar children are eating.

Added sugars include brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose, according to the CDC.

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".

Just over 60 percent of those ages 6 to 11 months averaged just under 1 teaspoon of added sugar a day. However, parents should always have the goal to give their children less added sugar, say the researchers of the study.

Despite these recommendations, however, a previous study shows that the majority of Americans consume more than what they're supposed to. These could be from bakery foods or ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, desserts or sweets and candy.

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