MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The American Heart Association is urging the public to take a stand against sugar especially when it comes to kids in newly released guidelines.
Navigating the aisles at the grocery store can be tricky, especially when looking for healthy options for children.
“Even very health-conscious parents don’t realize how much added sugar is in children’s foods that seem to be very healthy based on their labeling,” said Pediatrician Dr. Stephen Sanches.
Added sugars are added to processed and prepared foods to make them taste better. Studies show too much added sugar increases inflammation in the body’s arteries and other organs. It can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and eventually heart disease. That’s why the American Heart Association got involved.
The organization released its first ever guidelines for how much added sugar children should consume.
For kids ages two to eighteen, no more than six teaspoons per day should be consumed. That’s about 25 grams or 100 calories. Sugary beverages like sodas and sports drinks should be limited to one per week. Kids younger than two should have no added sugar at all.
“The beautiful thing about these guidelines is just how strict they are. It really re-emphasizes how easy it is to slip a few grams here and a few grams there of this added sugar,” said Sanches.
Doctor Sanches at the Pediatric Clinic said too much sugar can hurt a child’s metabolism and change their palate. Sugar cravings are real, but they can be stopped.
“If they can really start getting those kids onto a healthier diet, it starts snowballing in the right direction quickly, that they start craving more healthy foods as they eat more healthy foods,” said Sanches.
By July 2018, nutrition labels will help you make better choices. Added sugar will have its own line so you can see exactly how much is in every product. Until then, Doctor Sanches said stick with natural sugars like those found in milk, and fruits and vegetables.