The study found 99 percent of a representative sample of USA toddlers age 19-23 months consumed an average of just over 7 teaspoons of added sugar on a given day-more than the amount in a Snicker's® bar.
"This is the first time we have looked at added sugar consumption among children less than 2 years old", said Kirsten Herrick, a nutritional epidemiologist at the CDC and the lead author of the study.
Added sugars include any sugar used in processing or preparing foods and beverages, or any sugar added to food at the table.
Children, particularly toddlers, who consume sugary foods are much more likely to make poor diet choices later in life. However, added sugars are considered more damaging to health because they displace nutritional components of foods and contribute significantly to caloric intake.
While the body processes natural and added sugars in the same way, added sugar raises concerns among nutritionists because it often replaces necessary nutrients in the diet. These children took part in the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey or NHANES that took place from 2011 to 2014.
The parents of the study participants were asked to note down everything their child ate in a 24-hour period. 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. Zero-calorie sweeteners and sugars that are present naturally in foods were not counted.
The results indicate that 85 percent of infants and toddlers consumed added sugar on a given day.
Consumption of added sugar among Americans has been a widely discussed subject.
The government does not have guidelines for daily recommended limits for added sugar for children under the age of two. Among those age 12-18 months, 98 percent consumed added sugar, averaging 5.5 teaspoons.
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.
Parents can expect recommendations for young children to be in place for the 2020-2025 DGA guidelines, but for now, less added sugar should always be the goal.
Excessive sugar consumption is one of the most known common origin of obesity, dental degradation.
But most Americans exceed those limits. As for children under the age of 2, it is recommended that they avoid eating foods containing added sugar altogether.
However, the study has limitations because the added sugar consumption was measured basis the memory of parents of what their kid ate.