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Only 6 Teaspoons Of Sugar Daily For Kids, Says AHA

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Children are sweet-tooths in general, but a new set of guidelines seeks to curb the excessive sugar consumption of America’s young.

The American Heart Association announced in a statement that children and teenagers should not consume more than six teaspoons of added sugars per day, US News reports.

Dr. Miriam Vos, lead author, said in the news release,

Our target recommendation is the same for all children between the ages of 2 and 18, to keep it simple for parents and public health advocates.

Added sugars refer to any kind of sugar, including table sugar, honey, fructose, whether eaten separately, added at the table or in processed foods.

Vos, a nutrition scientist and associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine, explained that six teaspoons is a healthy amount, and is can easily be achieved.

The AHA statement also said that children younger than two years old should not eat foods or drink beverages with added sugars. Likewise, children and teenagers ages 2 to 18 should consume not more than 8 ounces of sugary drinks a week.

These guidelines are based on existing scientific research on the effects sugar has on children’s health. Regular consumption of food and drinks with high sugar content can cause high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, which is a factor in heart disease.

In addition, Vos said that children who tend to eat sugary foods don’t eat as much healthy produce like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy items. Sugar is a commonly added ingredient in food and consumption remains high because there have been no guidelines on what is safe. “The typical American child consumes about triple the recommended amount of added sugars,” she noted.

Beginning July 2018, food manufacturers will be required to put the amount of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel for items sold in the United States.

Vos says parents should serve more nutritious foods and limit meals with little nutritional value to avoid over-consumption of added sugars in their children’s diets.

The statement was published in the journal Circulation.

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