Heart association releases guidelines on kids and added sugars

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Photo: Irantzu_Arbaizagoitia/iStockphoto

Dallas – Children between the ages of 2 and 18 should consume less than 6 teaspoons – about 25 grams – of added sugars daily, according to newly released recommendations from the American Heart Association.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines added sugars as those that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared.

The AHA also recommends that children drink no more than 8 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages weekly, and those younger than 2 – who need fewer calories and develop food preferences early – should completely avoid food and drinks with added sugars.

AHA experts reviewed research about how added sugars – such as table sugar, fructose and honey – impact children’s health. They concluded that eating food high in added sugars during childhood may raise the risk of obesity and high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration all recommend that added sugars account for less than 10 percent of calories.

“If your child is eating the right amount of calories to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight, there isn’t much room in their food ‘budget’ for low-value junk foods, which is where most added sugars are found,” Dr. Miriam Vos, lead author, nutrition scientist and associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine, said in a press release.

The AHA’s recommendations were published Aug. 23 in the journal Circulation.

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