A group of heart doctors is calling on parents to stop indulging children’s sweet tooths by curbing the amount of added sugars in their kids’ diets.

The American Heart Association (AHA) is recommending that children under 2 consume no added sugars and that youngsters between 2 and 18 limit added sugars in their daily diets to just six teaspoons.

That’s the equivalent of roughly 100 calories or 25 grams. By comparison, a can of regular soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Currently, American children 2 to 19 consume 80 grams of added sugar, on average, a day, according to the AHA.

The group’s recommendations to limit added sugars were published this week in the journal, Circulation. It was written by a panel of experts who did a comprehensive review of scientific research on the effect of added sugars on children’s health, which presented challenges common to this kind of nutrition research.

Researchers cited excess consumption of sugars as a risk factor for developing a host of health problems including: obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and cancer. Diets rich in sugar also tend to lack important nutrients, the researchers noted.

“Although added sugars most likely can be safely consumed in low amounts as part of a healthy diet, few children achieve such levels, making this an important public health target,” they wrote.


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