The AHA urges parents to cut down the amount of added sugar consumed by their children in hopes to reduce obesity, diabetes and other future health concerns.
With child obesity, diabetes and cholesterol on the rise in the U.S., the American Heart Association (AHA) has issued recommendations on daily sugar intake.
Children between the ages of 2 and 18 should not consume more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day (25 grams or 100 calories). The amount of added sugar has sky-rocketed and in the diet of young children and young adults, this can seriously damage a child’s future cardiovascular health.
The study published by the AHA focuses on added sugars and not naturally occurring sugars found in fruit and vegetables so before anyone banishes all snacks from the cupboards it’s important to only focus on items such as soda, juices, processed foods, sauces, yoghurts and other foods that are commonly consumed by children and sneak in the extra added sugars.
Children who eat highly sugared foods are less likely to eat more healthy wholesome foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lower-fat foods. Those children who are overweight and diets consist of added sugar are also more likely to be insulin resistant which can be a sign of early stage type 2 diabetes.
“We believe the scientific evidence for our recommendations is strong and having a specific amount to target will significantly help parents and public health advocates provide the best nutrition possible for our children,” stated Dr. Miriam Vos, lead author, nutrition scientist and associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Cutting down on sugar is a high priority for the U.S. health authorities with food manufacturers being required to list the amount of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel from July 2018 making it easier and more transparent for consumers buying products in stores.
The AHA study was published in the journal Circulation.