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Health Concerns: Toddlers In The US Consume Too Much Sugar

Monday, June 11, 2018 12:11
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Researchers have known for a long time that people should get their daily sugar intake from fruits and vegetables rather than added sugars. But even so, toddlers in the United States are consuming way too much sugar.

The new study which concluded that toddlers are ingesting too much added sugar may have been limited in some ways considering the sugar consumption was measured based on parent’s memory of what their child ate during a short period of time. In addition, the study has not been peer-reviewed. It was shared at a medical meeting.

The problem with added sugars is not only the inflammation it can cause, but the added calories which contribute to serious health concerns such as obesity.

High amounts of added sugar can be hidden in seemingly healthy food: a single-size serving of yogurt with fruit at the bottom can contain up to six teaspoons of sugar. In a regular 8 ounce serving of apple or orange juice, there are 5.5 teaspoons of sugar, on average. Dried fruits are also loaded with sugar — there are 21 teaspoons in one cup of dried fruit alone. Energy and protein bars can also contain a lot of sugar, and it’s also found in the condiments we add to foods: each tablespoon of ketchup contains one teaspoon of sugar. –ABC News

The oldest toddlers in the study, who are aged between 19 to 23 months, averaged about seven teaspoons of added sugar per day (based on their parents’ memories), more than the amount in a Kit Kat bar, the study found.

Several animal studies have shown that a diet high in added sugar leads to obesity, insulin resistance, increased gut permeability and low-grade inflammation. Human studies confirm the link between added sugar and higher inflammatory markers.

A study of 29 healthy people found that consuming only 40 grams of added sugar from just one 375-ml can of soda per day led to an increase in inflammatory markers, insulin resistance, and LDL cholesterol. These people tended to gain more weight, too.

It isn’t really a big surprise that American toddlers are consuming too much sugar. Kids, in general, like sugar and tend to get almost addicted to it as they consume more and more.

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  • DianeWelland

    As a registered dietitian working with the Juice Products Association, I would like to weigh in on the inclusion of fruit juice as a seemingly healthy food that toddlers should avoid. First, it is important to note that 100% fruit juice is a nutrient-dense beverage that contains no added sugar. Studies also demonstrate that children and adults who drink 100% juice have better quality diets and lower intakes of added sugar, saturated fat, total fat, and sodium in their overall diet. Additionally, a systematic scientific review found that proper servings of 100% juice are not associated with weight status or obesity in children. Therefore, there is no reason to eliminate 100% juice from children’s diets as appropriate amounts can help support a healthy diet and lifestyle. For more information, visit juicecentral.org.

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