Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sickeningly Sweet

Just how much added sugar does the average toddler consume? According to data culled from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average intake was 14 teaspoons a day for two and three year olds and about 17 teaspoons for those aged four and five. "Added sugar" is defined as sugar added to foods during processing or eaten separately in forms such as candy or syrup. The survey did not include natural types of sugars such as the fructose found in fruit. Soft drinks and high-fat desserts accounted for half of the added sugar in these children's diets.

To make matters worse, sugar seemed to crowd out more nutritious items from these children's plates. As a result, important nutrients were missing from some of their diets. For example, 70 percent of the four and five year olds who consumed the most added sugar in their diets were found to be deficient in calcium.


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