Friday, April 3, 2015

Optimal Sugar Intake

RD Recommendation: Added sugars are to be eaten in moderation not to exceed 5-10% of total dietary intake in order to assure consumption of essential nutrients and to help prevent chronic disease. The following are tips for maintaining appropriate sugar intake:
  1. The 90/10 rule- eat healthy foods full of nutrients at least 90% of the time and eat treats or foods high in fat and sugar no more than 10% of the time. 
  2. Save high sugar foods or treats for holiday celebrations and special occasions rather than general everyday use.
  3. Drink only 100% juice and do not give to children until after the age of 1 (1,7).
  4. Limit juice intake to 1/2 - 3/4 cup daily from age 1-7 years old and 1 - 1 1/2 cups daily from 7 years of age into adulthood (6,7). 
  5. Omit or restrict to occasional use all other sugary beverages including soda pop, energy drinks and sports drinks (5,6,7). 
Sugar naturally obtained from a healthy diet (found in fruit, milk and grains) is sufficient to meet the body's needs for energy and for glucose essential in brain function (1). Additional sugar added to foods in production or at the table, provides no nutritional benefit and can displace essential nutrients for proper growth and development in children (1,4,7). The following childhood and adult health problems have also been linked to excess sugar intake:
  1. Dental cavities (1,6)
  2. Obesity (3,5)
  3. Insulin resistance (3)
  4. Heart disease (3)
​Sugar is an integral part of American society, and is often used at social gatherings and at holiday celebrations important for mental and social health. It is therefore important to accept a general practice of eating sugar in moderation rather than total elimination of all added sugars from our diets. Parents should teach their children by example that there is a time and place for sugar consumption rather than free daily intake, and they should provide healthy alternative treats (such as fruit) and drinks (including milk, small portions of 100% juice and water) for everyday use (7).

Learn More
  1. US Department of Agriculture, US Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Accessed September 12,2013.
  2. Briefel RR, Wilson A, Cabili C, Dodd AH. Reducing Calories and Added Sugars by Improving Children’s Beverage Choices. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013;113:269-275.
  3. Kosova EC, Auinger P, Bremer AA. The Relationships between Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake and Cardiometabolic Markers in Young Children. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013;113:219-227.
  4. Ruottinen S, Niinikoski H, Lagstro¨m H, High Sucrose Intake Is Associated With Poor Quality of Diet and Growth Between 13 Months and 9 Years of Age: The Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project. Pediatrics. 2008;121(6):1676-85.
  5. DeBoer MD, Scharf RJ, Demmer RT. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain in 2- to 5-Year-Old ChildrenPediatrics. 2013; 132(3): 413-20.
  6. Marshall TA, Levy SM, Broffitt B, Warren JJ, et al. Dental Caries and Beverage Consumption in Young ChildrenPediatrics. 2003; 112(3): 184-191.
  7. Gidding SS, Dennison BA, Birch LL, Dietary Recommendations for Children and Adolescents: A Guide for PractitionersPediatrics. 2006; 117(2):544-59.

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