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AHA Recommends New Added Sugars Limits for Children

Statement of CSPI Nutrition Director Bonnie Liebman

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Excessive consumption of added sugars promotes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, and other health problems.  For years, the American Heart Association has sensibly recommended  no more than about six teaspoons of added sugar a day for women and no more than about nine teaspoons a day for men.   Today the AHA is proposing new curbs on added sugars in children.  Specifically, it recommends that children aged two to 18 consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugars per day, and that children and teens limit intake of sugary drinks—including sports and energy drinks—to no more than eight ounces per week.  Children under age two should not consume foods or beverages with added sugars, according to the AHA.

To put the new limits into context, a 20-ounce bottle of Coke, increasingly the default size in vending machines, has roughly 16 teaspoons of added sugars. Despite the barrage of ads encouraging children and teens to drink sodas, sports drinks, and other sugary drinks, those beverages have no place in a healthy diet except as a rare treat.

CSPI strongly supports the American Heart Association’s sensible and science-based recommendations and hopes they are widely promoted by physicians, followed by parents, and most important, used by policymakers to help shape healthful futures for children.

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).