We all know that eating too much sugar is bad, but in the past, parents might have been unclear about just how much sugar was too much sugar for their kids to be eating. A new study from the American Heart Association, however, is spelling it out for us loud and clear: Children between the ages of 2 and 18 should not consume more than six teaspoons (aka 25 grams, or 100 calories) of the sweet stuff per day.
The recommendations, which were published in the AHA journal Circulation, aim to help parents lower the risk of weight gain, obesity, insulin resistance, abnormal cholesterol and fatty liver disease — all of which are associated with a diet high in added sugars — in their children. In the long-term, all of these health issues can negatively impact a child's future cardiovascular health.
Before you go hiding snacks and taking away all of your kids' dessert privileges, though, it's important to note that this study focuses solely on added sugars, which are sugars like fructose that are used to make processed foods and drinks — not the naturally occurring sugars you find in veggie snacks.
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"This does not mean that children need to cut sweets," says Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Director Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN. "It should serve as a real a reminder to cut the sneaky sources of added sugar that find their way into kids' diets — mostly through juice and soda (among other sugary beverages), sauces, yogurts, smoothies and many other processed foods."
Here's a look at six common kids' snacks and just how much sugar is in each:
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