More than half of 6 to 11-month-olds surveyed were given added sugar on a given day.
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. Herrick and her team found that the amount of added sugar increased along with a child's age.
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Eating too much foods containing added sugar has been associated with a number of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and even some cancers. Artificial sweeteners with zero calories and natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables and milk weren't included. "Our results show that added sugar consumption begins early in life and exceeds current recommendations". 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. They found that 99 percent of them consumed more than 7 teaspoons of added sugar on an average day - about the same as a full-sized candy bar.
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. 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. Added sugar consumption rose with age. 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. At present the guidelines recommend using 6 teaspoons or less daily in individuals aged between 2 to 19 years and adult women and less than 9 teaspoons for adult men per day.
The latest nutritional guidelines for the USA, which were updated in 2015 and will be reviewed in 2020, do not give recommendations for children under the age of two. She said that future studies are aiming at looking at the types of foods that are contributing to the excess sugar intake in kids as well.
The data revealed that 85% of the children involved in the study ate added sugar on any given day, and the amount they consumed crept up as they aged. It is the easiest way to supply the energy, however added sugars come with the catch - the "sugar tolerance" will be formed eventually. Dried fruits are also loaded with sugar - there are 21 teaspoons in one cup of dried fruit alone.
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