BEACON TRANSCRIPT – American kids are big on sugar, but according to new guidelines from the American Heart Association, children don’t need all that sugar.
The American Heart Association is an organization of nutritionists and health advisors. They suggest that children between 2 and 18 years old should consume less than six teaspoons of added sugar per day. The panel issued a statement yesterday (August 22nd) in the Journal Circulation.
Six teaspoons of added sugar per day mean roughly a hundred calories. Added sugar is a sweetener which is either added to your food or drink by yourself or by processing food companies. These sugars include table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses or honey.
Dr. Miriam Vos says that children need vegetables, proteins, whole grains, fruits and dairy to grow up healthy adults. This is why there is almost no room in a kid’s diet for added sugars.
If it’s used in small quantities, added sugar can better the taste of foods that are nutritional and healthy. Foods like whole grains, flavored milk or yogurt can be more appetizing if they contain a little extra sugar.
However, sugary drinks, cookies, candy or cakes have large amounts of added sugar and little or no nutritional value.
Children between the ages 2 and 18 usually eat two to three times more sugar than it is recommended by the new guidelines. This amounts to 0.5 ounces of added sugar per day for younger kids and 0.8 ounces daily for teenagers. This estimate is conservative, as participants in surveys on food sometimes under-estimate their actual sugar intake.
Dr. Vos pointed out that not only the American Heart Association but also the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines encourage lower sugar consumption. The government advises that kids eat no more than 10 percent of the total calorie intake in a day.
Experts know that too much sugar in a child’s diet can sicken that child for life. Eating sugar in quantities over the recommended amount increases the risk for high cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes or obesity.
Children below the age of 2 should have no added sugar in their diet. Doing otherwise could encourage toddlers and infants to love sweets from an early age.
Some tips for limiting sugar are switching to less processed snacks like fruits, nuts, and vegetables, replacing sugary drinks with water, or simply carefully reading the label of products that contain sugar. Sometimes even not buying high-sugar products helps. And it could save the parents a lot of money!
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