AHA recommends daily intake of 6 teaspoons of sugar by children to reduce risk of diabetes


Emobileclinic Researchers Corner 

The American Heart Association against the background of several studies associating increase sugar consumption to higher risk of obesity and other related diseases has suggested daily consumption of six (6) teaspoons of sugar by children and adolescents. This recommendation was published in the Journal Circulation.
It is alarming that from 2005 to 2008, boys in the U.S. aged 2-19 years consumed about 16.3 percent of their daily calories (around 362 calories) from added sugars, while added sugars accounted for around 15.5 percent of daily calories (around 282 calories) for girls of the same age according to Centre for Disease Control. It is against the above that the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a new scientific statement requesting children and adolescents to cut their sugar intake drastically; it recommends that children aged 2-18 should have no more than 100 calories from added sugar daily which is equivalent to 6 teaspoons.

According to Dr. Miriam Vos, the lead author of the study, the new guideline will be easy to follow than the earlier one which suggested varying sugar intakes for children and adolescents based on their age and overall calorie intake. He further said that their target recommendation is the same for all children between the ages of 2 and 18 to keep it simple for parents and public health advocates, noting that for most children, eating no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugars per day is a healthy and achievable target. The team’s submission followed an in-depth analysis of all scientific research that has assessed how consumption of added sugars affects children’s health. The results revealed that high intake of added sugars during childhood can lead to the development of heart disease risk factors, including obesity and high blood pressure and that the risk of developing such health problems becomes increasing as the more added sugars a child consumes, the greater the risk of insulin resistance, which may eventually make them susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers identified sweetened drinks such as soda and energy drinks as some common sources of added sugars among children. This is not surprising to many, given the fact that a single 12-ounce of cola can contains more than 9 teaspoons of sugar. They were unclear as whether sugars present in 100 percent fruit juices are linked to the same health risks as added sugars.
In spite of that, the AHA remains confident that the evidence to date indicates the need for children to reduce their consumption of added sugars to protect current and future health.
The team notes that from July 2018, manufacturers of Foods in the United States will be mandated to list added sugar content on their labels, which they consider will make the new AHA guidelines easier to comply with.

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