Kids' Eating: Sugar Consumption
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends sugar consumption of up to 40 grams or 10 teaspoons per day for adults with a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. However, USDA guidelines for sugar consumption in children under 18 are pretty vague. But since kids are smaller than adults, it only makes sense that they should eat less than the 10-teaspoon limit.
Even though kids may burn calories more efficiently than adults, their bodies are just as susceptible to the negative effects of having a diet high in sugar—especially refined sugars (the sugar found in candy). Too much refined sugar can contribute to many health problems including tooth decay, obesity and diabetes.
Your best bet to help limit your child's sugar consumption is to read food labels and use your common sense (while allowing room for special occasion indulgences in your kid's eating, like Halloween, if you want to). For example, a Hershey's Kiss will have far less sugar than a Snickers bar. Both may seem like "one" piece of candy, but in terms of sugar content, there's a big difference! Also, check wrappers for refined sugars, like high-fructose corn syrup. For example, even though a Fruit Roll-Up contains only three teaspoons of sugar, most of it is in the form of corn syrup, a refined sugar.
Browse the USDA Web site for a list that can help you identify so-called "added sugars" and for information on how to read food labels.