New Guidelines Limit Kids to 6 Teaspoons of Added Sugar a Day

Research links high sugar consumption to heart disease risk factors

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Children should eat no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day and drink no more than 8 ounces of sugary beverages a week under new guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA).

The AHA says it issued the statement, published online Tuesday in the journal Circulation, because studies have consistently found a link between added sugars and conditions that lead to cardiovascular disease. Watch the video above for more details on the AHA statement and new guidelines.

Advice for parents

So what is a parent to do? Begin with the obvious large sources of sugar in your child’s diet, says registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD. Consider cutting back or eliminating sugary drinks, desserts, candy, fruit snacks, jelly, jam and syrup.

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Also, make it a habit to compare labels for sugars in the products you purchase and avoid any food in which the first ingredient listed is sugar, she says.

Added sugars have a number of names on food ingredient labels, such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice and more. Choose foods with the lowest amount of sugar when comparing labels. Ideally, that would be less than 8 grams of sugar per serving, Ms. Zumpano says.

“This opens an opportunity to introduce more fresh whole fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet,” Ms. Zumpano says.

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