A new study suggests children in America are eating too much sugar, and too soon.
"This is the first time we have looked at added sugar consumption among children less than 2 years old", stated Kirsten Herrick, a nutritional epidemiologist at the CDC and the study's leading author, for ABC News. They were all part of the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a research study.
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.
However, the study's results could be unintentionally biased as it was based on parents' answers, thus, it can't be taken as a 100% conclusive study.
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 that affinity for the sweet stuff starts as early as infancy, with some babies consuming added sugar that exceeds maximum levels recommended for adults, US researchers report.
The study is expected to be presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting during Nutrition 2018. This exceeded the daily recommended limit (for added sugar) which is 6 teaspoons or less for children aged 2 to 19 as well as adult women. In a 24 hour window period, all the foods that the child was consuming was recorded. While it doesn't actually have a chemical difference from natural sugar in fruits, vegetables, and dairy, the added sugar are reportedly more harmful due to its tendency of displacing nutritional components and adding significant calories to the diet. The Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020 reveals that sugar-sweetened beverages make up 39 percent of added sugars in an average American's diet. While around 60 percent of babies between ages 6 months to 11 months consumed an average of 1 teaspoon of added sugars, 98 percent of children aged between 12 to 18 months were consuming an average of 5.5 teaspoons of sugar a day.
In the future, researchers will investigate the specific foods children consume their added sugar.
The added sugar included cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and honey. However, parents should always have the goal to give their children less added sugar, say the researchers of the study. Regardless of the recommendations, most people in the USA eat more than this limit, research shows.