To Your Health
June, 2024 (Vol. 18, Issue 06)
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Limit Kids' Added Sugar

By Editorial Staff

Sugar – so pleasing to the palate, so dangerous for our health, particularly when it's sugar that's added to your food (rather than occurring naturally in it). A diet high in added sugar has been associated with health conditions ranging from obesity and diabetes to heart and liver diseases, cancer and even dementia.

In other words, added sugar is bad news.

Unfortunately, one of the most common sources of added sugar is also one of the most popular: sugar-sweetened beverages, and for many youngsters, the exposure starts early. New research suggests the impact of early exposure to sugar-sweetened beverages (as opposed to naturally sweetened, such as 100% fruit juice) can linger well into adulthood, with an increased risk of obesity – even into adulthood. Among 4,000 children tracked from birth to adulthood, children who drank sugar-sweetened soda or sugar-sweetened fruit drinks before age 2 were heavier at age 24.

Children who drank sugar-sweetened beverages at age 3 also tended to consume more calories, fat, protein and sugar, and less fiber; and also more likely to suffer in terms of specific diet choices, with higher consumption of burgers, pizza, French fries, and sweets. The moral to the story: Limit added sugar intake – as soon your kids are young enough to start eating it!