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Nutrition Tips

Sizing Up Sugar for Kids

By Luigi Gratton, M.D., M.P.H.

Kids today are on sugar overload! According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, kids are getting a staggering 29 teaspoons of refined sugar per day. This overconsumption of sugar is causing a variety of problems and health issues. A high-sugar diet can suppress the immune system, cause tooth decay and even lead to diabetes.



  • Avoid giving your kids a high-sugar snack before a practice or game. Too much sugar causes energy peaks, followed by a crashing low which leaves them tired, irritable and unable to concentrate.

  • Offer your kids a healthier snack alternative, such as fruit. It's a naturally sweet snack that also contains fiber and vitamins they need.

  • Watch the high-sugar breakfasts. Kids' cereals contain about 52 percent more sugar than adult cereals and have less protein and fiber.

  • Be careful of sugar-sweetened sodas. Each 12-ounce carbonated soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories.

  • Beware of juice-flavored drinks. They often contain as much added sugar as soft drinks and also tend to be high in calories and low in valuable nutrients.

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