"Consumption of added sugar among children has been linked to negative health conditions such as tooth decay, asthma, obesity, high blood pressure and altered lipid profiles," said lead investigator Kirsten Herrick, program director of the Population Control and Population Division. Cancer. Studies with the National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health.
"Whether these associations exist for even younger children has not been studied," he added. "The aim of this study was to focus on one aspect of sugars added to the diet. [and] consumption among American babies and children – this could inform the dietary guidelines. "
Infants aged 6 to 11 months typically received sugars added via flavored yogurt, baby snacks, and baked goods; The study did not count sugars contained in breast milk or infant formulas.
For children ages 12 to 23 months, fruit, candy and sweet drinks were the main source of added sugars.
"We found no differences in sugar intake by gender, household income level or head of family education," Herrick said in an interview with the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
On average, babies consumed one teaspoon of added sugar per day, while children consumed about 6 teaspoons per day.
"However, we found differences in the consumption of added sugar by race and Hispanic origin," said Herrick. "For example, non-Hispanic Asian children consumed the least sugars added in about 3.7 teaspoons [a day]. Non-Hispanic black children consumed the most added sugars in about 8.2 tsp [a day]. "
The research extracted data from a nationally representative study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the National Health and Nutrition Survey. The study analyzed consumption between 2011 and 2016.
The analysis also found good news: overall sugar consumption fell during this five-year period among infants and young children. However, nutritionists warn that adding sugar at these ages is a concern due to its impact on future taste and dietary preferences.
"Research has shown that early dietary patterns shape later dietary patterns," said Herrick, pointing to a study that found 6-year-olds who drank any type of sugary drink before becoming one with more than one. twice as likely to drink sugary drinks once a day compared to children not exposed to sugar.