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How to Reduce Added Sugar in Your Child's Diet

March 25, 2019

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

On average, sugar makes up 17% of what children consume each day. That's a lot of sugar―and half of that comes from drinks with added sugar!

Many foods or beverages have extra sugar and syrups added to them when they are processed or prepared. These added sugars have many different names, such as brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose.

Here are ideas for how you can help your family reduce their added sugar intake:

Read nutrition facts labels carefully.
Many foods now list added sugar separately. You also can find added sugar by reading the ingredients. Aim for less than 25 grams (about 6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day for children 2 years of age and older. Avoid serving foods and drinks with added sugar to children under 2 years of age. Learn more about nutrition facts labels here.

Serve water and milk.
Avoid soda, sports drinks, sweet tea, sweetened coffee, and fruit drinks. Milk contains natural sugar (lactose) and provides calcium, protein, vitamin D, and other nutrients children need.

Limit fruit juice.
It has more sugar per serving than whole fruit. The AAP recommends no more than 4 ounces of 100% fruit juice a day for children ages 1 through 3 years; 4 to 6 ounces for children ages 4 through 6; and 8 ounces for children ages 7 through 14. Do not give fruit juice to infants under 1 year old.

Go fresh and limit processed, pre-packed food and drinks.
Sugar is often added to them while they are being made or at the table. For example, there are hidden sources of added sugar in processed foods like ketchup, dried cranberries, salad dressing, and baked beans.

Satisfy your child's sweet tooth with whole fruit.