American parents are poisoning their toddlers with excessive amounts of sugar.
Conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers studied more than 800 kids between six and 23 months old and discovered some shocking revelations regarding their added sugar intake.
"The study found that toddlers 12 to 18 months consumed 5.5 teaspoons per day, and that toddlers 19 to 23 months consumed 7.1 teaspoons," Quartz reported on the data. "This is close to, or more than, the amount of sugar recommended by AHA for adult women (six teaspoons) and men (nine teaspoons)."
Over a 24-hour period, parents of more than "80% of kids aged six to 23 months reported their children consumed at least some added sugar on a given day."
To compare how wild those numbers are, Americans ate just 123 pounds of sugar per year in 1970. Today, Americans consume 152 pounds of sugar per year, contributing to the obesity crisis.
As noted by Quartz, excess sugar consumption during a child's development has serious health repercussions. "Too much sugar during pregnancy adversely impacts child cognition, while excess sugar intake during adolescence has been associated with weight gain and cardiac risks, which include an increased risk of obesity and elevated blood pressure."
Most glaringly, the sooner a child becomes addicted to sugar, the more of an addiction it becomes as they reach adulthood. In fact, the AHA recommends that parents avoid giving children added sugar before the age of two, hooking their bodies onto nutrient-rich diets. "Avoid consuming any added sugar, since they need nutrient-rich diets and are developing taste preferences," read AHA’s guidelines.
One of the greatest contributors to increased sugar intake, according to the 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is the prevalence of sweetened beverages (sodas, fruit punch, etc.) in the average American diet. Such beverages account for 47% of all added sugar consumption.
The AHA also recommends reading ingredients and nutritional labels carefully for sugar masquerading under other names. "Besides those ending in ‘ose,’ such as maltose or sucrose," the guidelines say, "other names for sugar include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey or fruit juice concentrates."