Last week, American Heart Association (AHA) has issued a statement regarding the daily sugar intake children aged from 2-18 years should consume.
The statement has two points
- In the first point AHA suggests that children aged 2-18 should have no more than 100 calories from added sugar daily. This is the equivalent to 6 teaspoons or 25 grams.
- In the second point AHA recommends children under the age of 2 should not consume any added sugars at all. Children of this age do not require the calorie intake of older children and adults, so there is not enough room for the empty calories provided by food and drinks containing added sugars.
When we compare this statement with the latest research of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), made in the period of 2005-2008 in US, which states that boys aged 2-19 years consumed around 360 calories from added sugars, and girls consumed around 280 calories from added sugar, we can see large gap between the suggested amount of daily sugar intake and the real consumption.
High daily intake of added sugars in the early childhood can lead to development of obesity, high blood pressure and various heart diseases.
What are added sugars?
Added sugars are any sugars (table sugar, fructose and honey) used in processing and preparing foods or beverages, added to foods at the table or eaten separately. The good news is that from July 2018, food manufacturers will be required to list the amount of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel, so it will be much easier to follow the suggestions stated above.
How to “protect” your child from added sugars
Its simple. Feed your children with foods that are high in nutrition, like vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains, poultry and low-fat diary products. Avoid cakes, cookies, cereals, cereal bars and other sweet processed foods. Another thing to avoid are the sugar sweetened beverages – soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and sweetened teas.