High sugar consumption leads to heart attack in children, study says
Children who consume high levels of sugar are less likely to eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
Too much of anything is bad, but particularly so when it comes to children's sugar consumption. It’s common knowledge that too much sugar rots the teeth, stresses the liver, and is highly addictive—among other things.
But for children, high sugar intake is especially bad because it gives rise to a plethora of health risks, including obesity and elevated blood pressure, a new study has warned.
According to researchers from Emory University in the US, kids ages two to 18 should consume less than six teaspoon of sugar, roughly 100 calories or 25 grams of sugar.
"For most children, eating no more than six teaspoons of added sugars per day is a healthy and achievable target," said lead researcher Miriam Vos.
The study also revealed that children who consume high levels of sugar are less likely to eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
Making matters even worse, overweight children who consume added sugars in their diet are more likely to be insulin resistant, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.
Added sugars come in many forms, including table sugar, fructose and honey. These are used in processing and preparing foods or beverages.
Learn what else sugar does to the body on the next page
“Added sugars should not be included at all in the diet of children under the age of 2 years,” said a Deccan Chronicle report.
“The calorie needs of children in this age group are lower than older children and adults, so there is little room for food and beverages containing added sugars that do not provide them with good nutrition.
It is also in childhood that taste preference begin to be established. If children were introduced to healthier foods at this period in their development, the less likely they are to crave junk and processed food later in life.
"The best way to avoid added sugars in your child's diet is to serve mostly foods that are high in nutrition, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meat, poultry and fish, and to limit foods with little nutritional value," said Miriam.
Children’s calorie needs varies, from 1,000 a day for a sedentary 2-year-old to 2,400 for an active 14-18-year-old girl and 3,200 for an active 16-18-year-old boy.
Mirriam added: “If your child is eating the right amount of calories to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight, there is not much room in their food ‘budget’ for low-value junk foods, which is where most added sugars are found.”
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