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New Heart Recommendations Limit ‘Added’ Sugars for Kids

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Most every parent fights a constant battle with their kids about how much is too much sugar.

On Monday, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a recommendation that children should eat less 'added sugar' to avoid putting their heart health at risk.

Health risks

According to Brigid Titgemeier, RD, of Cleveland Clinic, one of the easiest ways to avoid added sugar is to cut out the sugary beverages.

"When you look at all of the research that's associated with the risk of consuming too much added sugar, it doesn't seem like there's a lot of room for any source of sugar-sweetened beverages, when you look at the fact that there's no nutritional value that's good and there's so many risks," said Titgemeier.

Research has connected diets high in sugar to heart risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

How much is too much

The statement released by AHA said that children between the ages of two and 18 should eat no more than six teaspoons, or 24 grams, of sugar each day.

They recommend drinks should be limited to no more than eight ounces of sugary beverages per week. Experts say the average U.S. child takes in about three-times that amount.

The statement also said that children younger than two shouldn't have any added sugars at all and should be eating nutrition-packed diets for their growing bodies and brains.

Know what to look for

Titgemeier said that it's important for parents to read nutrition labels and to know what they're looking for.

"Look for things that are known sources of added sugars and to avoid those, especially in the top five ingredients – so those are things like high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup - anything that ends with an 'ose'," said Titgemeier.

By starting a healthy diet early, Titgemeier said parents can help train their children's taste buds to develop good eating habits that can last a lifetime.



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