A new study conducted by the American Heart Association is a pertinent reminder to how children between the ages of are at risk thanks to added sugar. The study, which was published in the AHA journal Circulation, recommends that kids and teenagers have no more than six tea spoons of sugar (25 grams) a day. What are added sugars? According to the study, “Added sugars, as defined by the US Department of Agriculture, include all sugars used as ingredients in processed and prepared foods and sugars eaten separately or added to foods at the table.” So, that would mean everything from soft drinks to sauces and yogurt, basically any food that is processed. Besides the obvious risks of consuming added sugar — dental cavities, for instance — children are also at risk of “developing obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity-related cancers,” says the study.
A soft drink contains about 33 grams of sugar. John Dyer/Flickr
“A plain whole grain bagel with cream cheese can have no added sugar while a frosted doughnut has 23 grams of added sugar,” said Dr Miriam Vos, the lead author of the study. “A bowl of cereal can range from one gram to 12 or more grams, depending on the brand. One soda typically has 33 grams. A healthy breakfast of a low added-sugar, whole-grain cereal with a piece of fruit and a glass of low-fat milk would have about one gram of added sugar, [but] varies by the cereal.” The danger is that, said Vos, children who consume a lot of added sugars “tend to eat fewer healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products that are good for their heart health.”