Between the ages of six to 11 months, just over 60% of babies ate added sugar on a given day, at around under one teaspoon on average.
And yet new data presented this week (June 10) at the American Society for Nutrition's annual meeting show that American infants are consuming excessive amounts of added sugar in their diets, much more than the amounts now recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) and other medical organizations. "And other research has demonstrated that adults exceed recommendations for added sugar too".
The researchers arrived at this finding after conducting a survey with parents and their children who were between the ages of 6 and 23 months old.
According to the American Heart Association, the major sources of added sugars for Americans are regular soft drinks, sugars, cookies, candies, ice creams, and cakes.
But researchers have known for a long time that children should be getting their daily sugar from vegetables and fruits, not from added sugar, which contributes nothing but calories. The earlier patient is introduces to high sugar consumption, the heavier the consequences he or she will face during the life.
Eating foods with these extra sugars as a young child can influence diet choices later in life, researchers said.
Added sugar consumption starts for many before their first birthday and increases with age as toddlers between the ages of 19 and 23 months are consuming on average more than 7 teaspoons of added sugar a day.
"The easiest way to reduce added sugars in your own diet and your kids' diet is to choose foods that you know don't have them, like fresh fruits and vegetables", Herrick said. 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.
Consumption of added sugar among Americans has been a widely discussed subject.
The researchers say that at present there are no specific recommendations for children under the age of 2 years in the U.S. government's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).
Americans are advised to keep added sugars to less than 10 percent of their total diet. 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. Regardless of the recommendations, most people in the USA eat more than this limit, research shows. Factoring in added sugar taken with coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages, the number gets bumped up to 47 percent.
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.