Is Your Child Getting Too Much Sugar?

We all know that sugar gives us energy and that excessive sugar intake can have severe health consequences. However, understanding sugar limits can be challenging with the many added sugars that are widely available. This is of particular concern when it comes to our children. With obesity as the leading chronic disease among teens, the American Heart Association recently recommended new added sugar limits for children.

One way to monitor added sugar for kids is to restrict flavored beverages. According to the American Heart Association, a young child only needs 17 grams of sugar per day and the recommended sugar maximum is only 3 to 4 teaspoons per day. Below are approximate sugar contents of your child's favorite drink based on a 12 ounce serving:

1. Apple Juice 39 grams

2. Coca Cola 40 grams

3. Gatorade 21 grams

4. Orange Juice 33 grams

5. Red Bull 34 grams

Water is the recommended alternative to sweetened drinks and beverages labeled as low sugar are also encouraged. Always read labels carefully and if you're finding it difficult to completely deny your child his favorite beverage, dilute with water. Toothbrushing and other oral care habits can help lower dental cavity risk from sugar but efforts to reduce high sugar intake is most effective at maintaining good overall health. Be sure to discuss healthy eating habits with your children and raise any concerns with your healthcare providers.