The American Heart Association recently stated that children 2 -18 years of age should limit their added sugar consumption to less than 6 teaspoons a day (25 grams) and children under 2 years of age should have no added sugar in their diet. Instead, they should focus on nutritious foods that help their bodies grow. These statements are based on research showing that as sugar consumption increases in the diet so does the risks for heart disease. The challenging part for consumers is that the current nutrition label has one line for total sugars and does not differentiate between natural sugars and added sugars. By July 2018 there will be a new nutrition label for all food products that will have a new reference line for added sugars.
In the meantime, to help reduce your children’s added sugar consumption limit foods that have added sugar listed in the top 3 ingredients on the ingredient list, such as: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, malt syrup, fructose, molasses, fruit juice concentrates, raw sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and honey.
Take a look below at some common foods consumed by children and the amount of added sugar they contain.
- 12 oz Soda – 39g
- Oreo cookies (4) – 13g
- 1 fruit snack packet – 18g
- Chewy granola bar – 17g
- Traditional pasta sauce (1/2 cup) – 10 grams sugar
- Italian dressing (2 Tbsp) – 3 grams sugar
- Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp) – 3 grams sugar
Making small changes in you and your children’s diets can have lasting impact on your entire family.