Study: Kids get more added sugar from foods than drinks

Kids are gobbling far more added sugars than they should, and processed and packaged foods, not beverages, are the leading source in their diets, new government data show.

They are downing an average of 322 calories a day from added sugars, or about 16% of their daily calories. Boys consume 362 calories a day from them; girls, 282 calories.

The data from the National Center for Health Statistics, released Wednesday, show 59% of added-sugar calories come from foods and 41% from beverages. But soft drinks are still the biggest single source of added sugars in children’s diets.

Added sugars include table sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, molasses and other caloric sweeteners in prepared and processed foods and beverages, such as cakes, candy, cookies, muffins, soft drinks, jams, chocolates and ice cream. Not included in this analysis are sugars in fruit and 100% fruit juice.

Sixty-three percent of calories from added sugars are consumed at home, the report says. There was no difference in percent of calories from added sugars based on income level.

“Soda consumption is high, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the added sugars in foods such as muffins, cookies, sugar-sweetened cereals and pasta sauces,” says Cynthia Ogden, senior author on the report and an epidemiologist with the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Many processed foods have added sugars. Those foods contribute more than the beverages.”

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