Did you know your Child may Consume 49 POUNDS of this a year?!
We are fast approaching holiday season! I love most everything about the holidays… except for the large amounts of sugar my children consume. Did you know that the average American child (under the age of 12) consumes about 49 pounds of sugar a year?! 49 pounds! In another study by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, it was reported that the average American boy gets 16.3% of their daily caloric intake from added sugars. And the girls weren’t too far behind them at 15.5%. That roughly translates to 362 calories per day of added sugar for boys and 282 calories per day of added sugar for girls.
So how much sugar is recommended? In 2016, the American Heart Association published new recommendations for children. Children should have no more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories of added sugar per day. Another way to measure it is less than 25 grams per day. It was recommended that children under the age of 2 not be given any added sugar in their diets.
Let’s put this in perspective. Three Oreo cookies contain 14 grams of added sugar. One cup of Kellogg’s Fruit Loop cereal contains 10 grams of added sugar. (41.4 percent of the ingredients contained in a box of Fruit Loops is sugar). Two tablespoons of Nesquik Chocolate flavor powder contain 11 grams of added sugar. One cup of the Mountain Dairy 1% Chocolate Milk in my refrigerator contains 30 grams of sugar! (That was eye opening for me!)
Foods that we label as “healthy” often contain way more added sugar than we realize too. Flavored yogurt is a terrible culprit. Greek Gods Honey Vanilla flavored yogurt contains 33 grams of added sugar per cup! Quaker’s Simply Granola contains 20 grams per cup. Western Family meat flavored marinara sauce contains 9 grams per ½ cup. Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce has 16 grams of added sugar in 2 tablespoons! I could go on and on…
What are the “take-aways”? I think it’s safe to say that most of us already understand that sugar in large quantities is bad for us. We know that too much sugar can lead to all sorts of health issues like obesity, heart disease, tooth decay, diabetes, and high blood pressure. When I write Table Talk articles, I honestly try to think of topics that might spur a great conversation at the family dinner table. So why not have a conversation with your children about sugar? Do they understand why sugar is bad for them? What could your family do to limit sugar? What foods do they like that don’t contain added sugars? You could even take it a step further by teaching them how to read nutrition labels. Or have them help you prepare a healthy, sugar-free meal or snack. The research is alarming, and because we live in a processed-food world, the amount of sugar we eat is on the rise. Knowledge is power!
What are some of your ideas for limiting sugar? How do you teach your children to be healthy? As always, I love to hear from you! (And I would love to include some of your ideas in a part 2 to this article in the near future)… Stay tuned!
Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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