Toddlers are eating too much added sugar, and their consumption is increasing as they get older, according to a new study by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ABC News reported on Sunday.
It is the first time researchers looked at sugar consumption among children younger than 2 years old, lead research Kirsten Herrick told ABC News. The research hasn’t been published or peer reviewed, but it was shared at a medical meeting, the outlet reported.
Researchers surveyed parents of 800 children ages 23 months to 6 years old on how much added sugar they consume in a 24-hour period.
For 6- to 11-month-olds, 61 percent of sugar in their diet was added sugar and that number increased with age. Nearly 98 to 99 percent of the sugar consumed by 1- and 2-year-olds was added sugar.
Added sugars include brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose, according to the CDC.
The latest research raises fears on how early exposure to extra sugar — in foods like packaged cereals, baked goods, desserts sugary drinks and candy — can contribute to long-term problems of obesity, diabetes, cavities and asthma.
In the U.S., at least one in five children ages 6 to 19 years old is obese, according to the CDC.
Americans are advised to keep added sugars to less than 10 percent of their total diet. Other research has shown that both eating too much naturally occurring sugar and processed sugar can change receptors in the brain, increasing cravings for sweet foods.