Kids shouldn’t have more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day
Children should have no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day, researchers advise.
Six teaspoons of added sugars is equivalent to about 100 calories or 25 grams, or one small chocolate bar, with nutrition scientists at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia asserting that any more than this is dangerous to the health of young ones.
Added sugars are any sugars - including table sugar, fructose and honey - either used in processing and preparing foods or beverages, added to foods at the table or eaten separately.
Following the study, which analysed peer-reviewed research, the scientists said that eating no more than six teaspoons of added sugars per day is a healthy and achievable target. They added that children under the age of two should have no added sugars in their diet at all.
"Children who eat foods loaded with added sugars tend to eat fewer healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products that are good for their heart health," said Dr Miriam Vos in a statement. "There has been a lack of clarity and consensus regarding how much added sugar is considered safe for children, so sugars remain a commonly added ingredient in foods and drinks, and overall consumption by children remains high - the typical American child consumes about triple the recommended amount of added sugars.”
Eating foods high in added sugars throughout childhood is linked to the development of risk factors for heart disease, such as an increased risk of obesity and elevated blood pressure in children and young adults. The likelihood of children developing these health problems rises with an increase in the amount of added sugars consumed.
In their report, the researchers also note that one of the most common sources of added sugars is sweetened beverages, such as soda, fruit-flavoured and sports drinks, sweetened teas and energy drinks. They add that parents should avoid giving their young children food with added sugars, including processed foods like cereal bars, cookies, cakes and sweetened cereals.
The study was first published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.