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Sugar makes up 16% of kids' daily diet
February 29th, 2012
03:05 PM ET

Sugar makes up 16% of kids' daily diet

It’s not a shocker: Kids eat lots of sugar.

About 16% of their daily calories come from sugar, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

By sugar the report means sugars in processed foods like soda, cakes and ice cream. It also includes sweet substitutes like corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, fructose sweetener, honey, molasses, anhydrous dextrose, crystal dextrose and dextrin.

About 66% of sugary foods were consumed at home, according to the report. This means that the vast majority of kids get their sugar fix at their houses rather than school cafeterias, convenience stores or vending machines.

Boys consumed about 362 calories from added sugars compared to 282 calories for girls. The sugary consumption increased with age, beginning at 218 calories for boys between the age of two and five, which increased to 442 calories for teens ages 12 through 19.

White males were more likely to consume the largest percent of sugar, compared with black or Hispanic males. The same trend was true for white females, although the differences in the percentages were lesser than those seen among boys.


soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. When foods affordable

    then tell these mothers about the percent of sugar involved better yet COMPLAIN TO THE COMPANIES PRODUCING THE PRODUCTS

    February 29, 2012 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gager

      A business provides for a demand. Blaming the business is nonsense. The control is the parent.

      March 1, 2012 at 05:30 | Report abuse |
    • Hatixhe

      Products should not have high sugar in them, even pasta sauce has sugar! These companies should control the sugar for the kids and all population. Mothers alone can't do it if it is in the market. Can I tell my kids that they should not eat anything in school parties, friend parties, relatives, restaurants because of high sugar level everywhere? We can't live in the bubble!

      March 1, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
    • SunnyColorado

      I've done just that, the company will reply back that they DO provide a quality product. I don't think most parents understand just what the ingredients on the label really are (chemical names) and most are just so busy they don't take the time to understand how bad this junk really is.

      March 1, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
    • mouselol

      Cookies, cakes, candies, chocolate and soda should only be consumed as occasional treats and nothing more. Sadly this has become a daily diet and not an occasional treat. Hatixhe, you say spaghetti sauce even has sugar in it. Here's a novel idea...make your own spaghetti sauce. Too often it's too easy just to buy preprocessed crap.
      Parents while their kids are still young are responsible for what goes in the mouths of their children pure and simple. Get the preprocessed crap out of your house. That means soda (aka liquid candy), sugar cereal, chips, candy and all preprocessed foods. It's not rocket science.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • Hatixhe

      Europe has banned artificial colors since 2008! It is so much easier since it is not in the food and it is the same for everybody! No arguments with kids who beg for neon green ice-cream and florescent blue drink. They don't see it in the store, they won't ask for it! Same with sugar, what we are asking is to lower the amount of sugar in food products. Is this too much to ask for?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse |
    • Hatixhe

      Mouselol, you are right! I am trying to stay from processed foods as much as I can but I have to work too, that gives me only 40 min. to prepare dinner. I do use some ready-made food when I can like pasta sauce even though I get the organic version.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • Galina L.

      When my son was growing up, he would eat only junk food if it happened to be at home, so, as a result, I had no cookies, cereals, candies, pop-tarts, store-bought drinks, cakes, snacks at home, only normal food high in fat and protein and some veggies to eat. Almost any vegetable could be palatable for a child if you put enough of butter in it. Outside our home, at school, at friend's houses he could have whatever he wanted. He grew-up healthy, without cavities, lean, muscular, without so-called "sweet tooth". Mothers, don't give that garbage to your children! Don't buy any food specially designed for children consumption, it is all like candies even thous with a "healthy" label. Don't be afraid of fat in the food, beware of sugar! Making an omelet on the morning with cheese is almost as quickly as giving that cereal from the box. Just a simple chunk of cheese is better than a pop-tart.

      March 1, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
    • Newo

      um...read the labels...

      March 1, 2012 at 18:17 | Report abuse |
    • Galina L.

      Buy food without labels.

      March 1, 2012 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      The Anti Obesity drug makers and diabetes drug makers take in 10 billion$$$$ every year with no cure!!

      Food Chemicals are the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis

      The FDA and Drug makers know this and are laughing to the Billionaire$$$ bank

      The food chemicals break the gut(insulin) and this is the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis

      A filmmaker has been reversing diabetes and Obesity WITHOUT MEDICATIONS in now 10 countries and the drug makers do not promote the story

      just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

      March 4, 2012 at 08:22 | Report abuse |
    • Priya

      Agreed. I hate that companies put sugar in everything, even things that have no business having sugar in them. The only real way to reduce sugar in your diet is to cook natural unprocessed foods.

      March 5, 2012 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
  2. Primal

    It's a lot more than 16% if they eat grains and white potatoes.

    February 29, 2012 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KJC

      The article clearly stated that this was a measure of "added sugars," so they were likely not including fruits, potatoes, and the like. Read the text, please.

      March 1, 2012 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
    • Abby

      KJC, I believe what Primal was saying is that if they added on carbs that quickly turn to sugar in the body, the number would be even higher than 16%. He/she was saying that those things should have been counted as well, but weren't.

      March 1, 2012 at 17:51 | Report abuse |
  3. Tex71

    A diet high in processed foods like HFCS wreaks havoc with children's ability to learn. As a teacher, I can tell you that children are far less able to concentrate after lunch (even though our school has introduced a "healthy" [healthier?] cafeteria). I have tried for years to get them to stop selling junky snacks and highly processed dessert foods, but unfortunately the bean-counters at some level think tax breaks for millionaires are more important than a healthy diet and a successful education for working-class children. TV programming is generally not conducive to building children's attention spans, but parents must bear the responsibility for their children's TV habits. Of course, if every family could afford to keep one parent at home like the Santorums, I'm sure we would all have a better time of it. But with stagnant salaries and rising rates of inflation, staying at home is simply not a viable option for most working folks.

    February 29, 2012 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • someone

      a large amount of blood supply is funneled from the rest of the body to the stomach and intestines after a meal is eaten. that reduces attention span and whatnot. although i am sure a sugar crash from high sugar diets doesnt help

      February 29, 2012 at 18:20 | Report abuse |
    • gager

      Tax breaks for millionaires has nothing to do with what is served at a school cafeteria. You need to hone your skills at presenting arguments.

      March 1, 2012 at 05:32 | Report abuse |
  4. mavsfan93

    parenting is pathetic nowadays

    February 29, 2012 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hatixhe

      What parenting? Both parents have to work all day nowadays! Both parents pay taxes and kids are in schools all day. Who do you think keeps this country going and pays max taxes, middle class families, both parents working like dogs!

      March 1, 2012 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
  5. corruption

    we need to separate oil and state
    we need to separate factory farms and state
    we need to separate banks and state
    we need to separate food industry and state

    starting to develop a pattern here...

    they need to do like the tobacco industry and make any politician that accepts money from these folks is a ki ss of death for their political career.

    February 29, 2012 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elle

      I want to make sweet sweet love to this comment

      March 1, 2012 at 03:45 | Report abuse |
  6. shesavestheworld

    Reblogged this on Shesavestheworld and commented:
    I find it most interesting that white males consume a higher percentage of sugar than black or hispanic males. The premise has been that due to the availability of simple sugars (and cheaper price), those of lower socioeconomic status and minorities were more likely to consume white sugars.

    February 29, 2012 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Mike Hunt

    All good points stated here. A good read.

    The food and drug companies are holding hands.

    Everybody eats and Everybody dies

    February 29, 2012 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Stan

    When you think about a pound of fat being approx 3500 calories, really puts this report in perspective. So the causality between the things in our food products and our public health crisis are clear. My friends daughter is an obese child, 9 years old and overweight. Part of the problem is calories and the necessity of eating meals out, they use the new Thindish site to try to keep awareness of her calories. I think the public "gets it" and things will start to change, I feel optimistic.

    February 29, 2012 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Galina L.

      If you minimize carbohydrates in a child's diet, she will slim down. Calories counting led to the culling of fat which is necessary for a brain development and satiety. Without carbohydrates it is difficult to over-eat. If you want for a child to eat less, make her not hungry.

      March 1, 2012 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
  9. phaseolus

    @Stan: There is not a "necessity" to eat out, period. Parents are the limiting factors in a nine year old child's diet. To the extent that they do not parent their child appropriately the child will make poor dietary choices and suffer the inevitable consequences. The child is not at fault, but the parents most assuredly are.

    March 1, 2012 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Denee

    The amount of sugar going into all of our bodies is insane. I have started taking to nutritional shakes instead that have less then a gram of sugar each in them as opposed to eating virtually anything else that comes out of a package. Not to mention sodium and all the other horrible things for you. No wonder we have an obesity problem. If anyone is interested in a health alternative consider Visalus shakes and the 90 day health challenge. Deneebooker . com is my page.

    March 1, 2012 at 01:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Katie

    Sugar doesn't make up ALL kids diets. My kids rarely had juice, never had soda, and ate plain yogurt (not that icky stuff with the fruit added) plain fruits and cheeses and things like carrots for snacks. I know lots of families who did the same.

    March 1, 2012 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hatixhe

      Katie, you are right! How about families that are not educated? They don't understand the importance of healthy food and they see you like snob if you try to give your kid healthy lunch to school. My 8 year old have been begging me to buy snacks from her school cafeteria like other kids and I'm not sure for how long I will be able to control her by saying NO. This food should not be offered! It should not be in the market at all!

      March 1, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Hatixhe, don't just say no, explain why you are saying no. Most kids are very smart and will understand. Make yours proud to be the only ones not eating junk.
      Keep up the good job!

      March 1, 2012 at 20:34 | Report abuse |
  12. The_Mick

    Walk down a cereal aisle in a supermarket and try to find cereals less than 25% sugar – even a lot of the so-called healthy ones. Of course, our idiotic nutrition labels are not required to show percentages, you usually have to take the grams of sugar (usually 7 g or higher) and divide by the "suggested serving size" (usually 28 g for cereals – that's just one ounce in order to make calories look low): 7/28 = 1/4 = 25%. Some great cereals like Cheerios are 3-4% sugar (1gram sugar) so it's not impossible to make it low.

    March 1, 2012 at 07:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Yeraldi

      ..I don't feel that they're good pets for a 14 year old.Reasons:1. They're nocturnal. Some won't wake up till after midginht (though most wake up earlier). Are you okay with your daughter staying up till 2am?2. Are you okay with driving the sugar gliders to an emergency vet at 4 in the morning should a problem arise? Again, they're nocturnal this means that injuries and illnesses are more likely to be observed late at night.3. Are you prepared to take over if your daughter gets bored with them?and 4. What about when your daughter goes to college? Sugar gliders can live for 15 years, which means..well, what's your daughter going to do with them when it's time for her to go to college (should she go)? Dorms will not allow sugar gliders.That said Let me give you a run down of some average prices for the startup costs.A pair of sugar gliders $300A good sugar glider cage $150Startup diet costs I'd estimate it at around $50 to $100 depending on what diet you choseAn emergency kit (NOT optional) $65Initial vet visit $100A GOOD glider safe wheel PET STORE WHEELS ARE NOT OKAY $50 from atticworx.comCage sets (pouches, hammocks..they need pouches especially) $50. You want enough so that you can switch them out on cleaning day.Toys $50. Again, you want enough so you can switch them out.Bonding pouch Get at least two, $30Travel cage NOT optional as you might have to separate the gliders at a moments notice should they start to fight $50So, pretty pricey in all..and I'm sure I've left a few things out.Glidercentral.net if you want to research.

      August 2, 2012 at 10:14 | Report abuse |
  13. JD

    I'm not saying that sugar should be part of a healthy eating plan but it gets an unfair bad rap. Think about it, when someone says they're addicted to sugar does that mean they're eating straight from the sugar canister? No, they're eating things this article talks about - cakes, cookies, ice cream, etc. The main ingredient in most of these items isn't sugar but wheat; sugar is just along for the ride. To be sure, the combination of wheat, PUFAs, sugar, gums, and other junk IS the problem, not sugar on its own.

    March 1, 2012 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Galina L.

      Sugar should not be a part of a healthy diet . You are kidding yourself with "moderation".

      March 1, 2012 at 15:10 | Report abuse |
  14. iceload9

    I'm surprised it's only 16%. Makes you wonder why we're subsidizing sugar outside of the obvious reason. It's like paying to poison ourselves.

    March 1, 2012 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Miss Such-and-Such

    I love sugar.

    March 1, 2012 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. SunnyColorado

    I've recently emailed my comments to several cereal manufactures letting them know I feel they are contributing to our childhood obsity and diabetes with their low nutritional products marketed directly at children... cereal, pop tarts, toaster pastries... etc. I feel these companies should be ashamed of their high power advertising of this garbage to our kids. And of course, their reply back to me was how great their products really are!!! In reality, it is the parents who need to be tought to read labels and understand just what they are giving their kids. Oatmeal and fresh fruit isn't expensive.

    March 1, 2012 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hatixhe

      These companies care about their profits! I am a parent who is having endless battles with my kids about junk food! Why should I spend my time arguing and convincing my kids to avoid so many food options that are in the market? I want to pick the battles and I want harmony, why should I create unnecessary stress to parenting because they can't have the junk food offered in parties, stores, etc.?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • larry5

      I hate to break the news but sugar in the form of corn sweeteners is everywhere. It is often hidden as part of something else and hides in the list on the label. Also the labels are often very inaccurate. When asked the manufacturer claims it's just the variance in a mass produced product. Sometimes the sugar content is understated by up to ten times the listed amounts.

      March 1, 2012 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • Galina L.

      You don't need cereals AT ALL to feed your family. You better talk with people about boycotting such products.

      March 1, 2012 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
  17. Abby

    It's not just "sugary stuff" that has sugar. A few weeks ago, I was buying canned tomatoes and when I read the ingredient list, one brand had added sugar. And if you buy the pre-marinaded fish or meat at the store, many times that has sugar. Salad dressings often have sugar (I now usually make my own with olive oil, balsamic or raspberry red wine vinegar, and herbs). Sugar, especially HFCS, is hiding in so many places you wouldn't typically think about! Always read the ingredient list!

    March 1, 2012 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. larry5

    The food industry is falling behind. With a little more work they can certainly get the percentage up to 20%. Refined sugar is cheap calories and combined with fat and salt is a sure bet to cheaper food costs for busy people on the run. This modern fast food diet is an important part of our economy. It's profitable and works in concert with the drug and healthcare industries. The nutrition supplied by high sugar content food combined with fat and salt is the foundation of a large and growing medical industry. It's guaranteed job security for many hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers, medical device manufacturers, drug company employees and government agencies. You too can contribute by driving through your nearest fast food emporium and placing that order for a number three, medium coke with curly fries.

    March 1, 2012 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Blaise

    All products that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) should have to list in in large print on the front of the package, along with the amount. I was shocked when I bought bread and it told me it didn't have HFCS; I didn't know ANY bread had it. So I checked other brands and *BAM*, HFCS. Stop hiding "fillers" in our food. Between the e. coli on the fruits and veggies and the hidden "fillers" it's not safe to eat anything anymore. That's just wrong.

    March 1, 2012 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Kevin Roberts

    Sugar isn't making our kids fat and unhealthy the real culprit is animal products such as meat, eggs etc! this is just more false propaganda from the meat industry! The only healthy diet is a strict vegan diet to live much longer and healthier and it's good for the planet! GO VEGAN!

    March 1, 2012 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Galina L.

      I improved my health dramatically after increasing the amount of red meat , butter, eggs in my diet and ditching grains, potatoes, sugar ets., I am an adult, but natural diet is even more important for children. Children need fats especially saturated and proteins. Cholesterol is a body building material. If you want a midget child with ADD and gastrointestinal issues – raise him as a vegan.

      March 1, 2012 at 17:32 | Report abuse |
    • Abby

      You have got it entirely backwards! Sugar and carbs are the culprit.
      Meat (grass-fed, organic) and eggs are good for you. Along with plenty of vegetables and fruits.

      Not to mention you cannot even survive on a vegan diet without artificial supplementation. You simply cannot get all the nutrients you need; for example, there are no viable plant sources of B-12. Common sense should tell you if your diet lacks in essential nutrients, it is far from "the only healthy diet".

      Some suggested reading for you:
      "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Weston A Price DDS
      :"Protein Power" by Michael Eades MD and Mary Eades MD
      "The Paleo Diet" by Loren Cordain PhD
      "The Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson
      "Good Calories Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes
      "Real Food" by Nina Planck
      "The Vegetarian Myth" by Lierre Kieth

      March 1, 2012 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
    • dan

      not true,not only does meat taste fantastic, it is 'natural' to eat it. If you don't eat meat you're not fully human

      March 1, 2012 at 19:39 | Report abuse |
  21. Dr. Dee

    Unfortunately the article lumps all sugars together. Since 1963 the consumption of a "sugar" called high fructose corn syrup has increased about 400%. What is legally called sugar is table sugar or sucrose, made from cane or beets. The corn refiners have applied to the FDA to get high fructose corn syrup to be called corn sugar. The real sugar industry has filed suit for this. Real sugar is a disaccharide (one of each as di means 2) of one glucose and one fructose connected together ad broken down into each individual in the gut when eaten. High fructose corn syrup, which makes up most of what they refer to in this article has more free fructose which goes directly to the liver and gets turned into fat. It is the insult to the liver which is causing obesity. The liver is one of the organs which controls energy use in the body. Without a healthy liver you get obese and this can lead to metabolic syndrome and to type 2 diabetes. from Dr. Dee

    March 1, 2012 at 20:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Galina L.

      Sugar taking such a big proportion in a diet means too much sugar. Weston Price described how damaging the sugar and refined breads were at the beginning 20 century before HFCS. The corn association is right – sugar is sugar. Here is his book free on line http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html.

      March 1, 2012 at 23:46 | Report abuse |
  22. sugar high

    Just about every food in the supermarket is laced with added sugar. It is hard to buy anything without it. If you are not educated about sugars, you would never know and never suspect. I started a low carb diet to reduce my triglycerides and blood sugar. On my first day I went to the grocery store to buy ingredients to make a meat loaf. The recipe called for a cup of breadcrumbs. i found that every single brand of breadcrumbs listed high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient. Why do breadcrumb need to have added sugar?

    March 2, 2012 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Abby

      Try "almond crumbs". Almonds + food processor = almond crumbs. I use them in place of bread crumbs in many recipes.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • Galina L.

      Avoid recipes that include bread. When I make a meatloaf, I just add a lot of sauteed veggies like onion, parsley, mushrooms, also shredded and squished out of extra liquid zucchini, raw eggs to bind all together. Be creative.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:09 | Report abuse |
  23. jj

    My blood sugar is high and I avoid sugar as best I can, reading labels. But it is hard. I have found that artificial sweeteners are very bad for you. If your blood sugar isn't high, enjoy sugar moderately. You may not be able to eat it forever.

    March 2, 2012 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Daily Healthy Eating Plan

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    March 7, 2012 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Andrew from LPN training

    Due to the increasing rate of processed foods in the market today, it is expected that the findings of these survey are true. A greater risk is likely to occur if people continue on consuming processed foods primarily. Children need to be taught healthy eating habits as early as 1 year old to avoid increasing sugar related complications in children.

    March 25, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply

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