The American Heart Association has recommended new limits on kids consuming sugar: Ages 2 to 18 should consume no more than 25 grams of sugar a day. No food or drink with added sugars for children younger than 2.
Highlights from the interview with Dr. Joann Carson, Professor of Clinical Nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Why has the AHA issued a recommendation?
“The American Heart Association has been a leader in stepping out and making a number for people to use on the issue of added sugar. They did this for adults a number of years ago this one is for children: six teaspoons or 25 grams. Six teaspoons would be like six of those little white packets of sugar that you add to your tea.”
“Children who start consuming a lot of added sugar, particularly in beverages, at an early age are more likely to develop all the things that contribute to heart disease, like high triglycerides in their blood, they become overweight, they may become hypertensive as a result of being overweight, and all of those increase your chances of heart disease.”
Biggest source of added sugars for kids
"The biggest places where kids are getting added sugar is sugar sweetened beverages. The classic soda kind of option, but also the energy drinks, sports drinks and that type of thing."
What to drink instead
"Water. Regular lowfat milk instead of sweetened milk. Eat the fruit itself instead of the juice. But certainly when you’re drinking juice, use small amounts of juice and use real juice."
Two most important things
"Don’t introduce very young children to added sugar. It’s better until age two not to expose them to added sugar. After that, cut back. I believe the average grams of sugar in a child between two and 18 is eighty, and we’re saying cut back to 25. So even if you don’t make it down to 25, for the average kid, cutting it in half would be a good thing.”
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