Where Are Your Kids Getting All That Sugar? You Might Be Surprised
Think that just because you’ve limited the amount of soda your kids drink that you’ve cut out excess sugar from their diet? You may have to think again.
As USA Today reports, a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that kids get a majority of their daily sugar rush not from sugary drinks but from foods — 59 percent, to be exact. Still, a significant amount does come from beverages — kids guzzle the other 41 percent of calories from added sugars in the form of soda and other super-sweet beverages.
Added sugars are just about any kind of sweetener that’s added to flavor a product (think table sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, etc.). The NCHS report found that boys get, on average, 362 calories daily from added sugars, while girls get a corresponding 282 calories each day.
That may not sound too terrible at first, but consider this: The American Heart Association recommends women consume 100 calories or less each day from added sugars (that’s about six teaspoons), and men consume just 150 calories of sugar, according to USA Today.
“Soda consumption is high, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the added sugars in foods such as muffins, cookies, sugar-sweetened cereals and pasta sauces,” Cynthia Ogden, an author of the report and NCHS epidemiologist, tells USA Today. “Many processed foods have added sugars. Those foods contribute more than the beverages.”
And before anyone starts complaining how horrible school lunch programs are, the newspaper points out that 63 percent of calories from added sugars are consumed at home and that a family’s income level has nothing to do with it.
As one nutrition professors tells USA Today: “I continue to be amazed at the added sugars that Americans are consuming. Added sugars do one of two things — they either displace nutritious foods in the diet or add empty calories. Most of us don’t have room in our diets for this many calories from added sugars.”
Looking to cut down on excess sugar? Explore our healthy snack recipes!