How Much Sugar Is Appropriate for Children?

Providing a good daily amount of sugar-rich foods will keep children energized and in good spirits throughout the day. However, excess sugar consumption can lead to health complications, both in the short and long term.
How Much Sugar Is Appropriate for Children?

Last update: 28 December, 2018

Several questions can arise among parents when it comes to feeding their little ones. The most common is how much sugar is appropriate for children. We’ll address this concern in the following article.

If introduced naturally into children’s daily diets, sugar helps them maintain adequate energy levels throughout the day. However, it’s necessary to emphasize that excess sugar consumption can be harmful to their health.

The natural sugar found in fruits isn’t equal to that of soft drinks. The latter is called added sugar. Children don’t know how to control their impulses to eat, which is why it’s the parents’ duty to monitor their children’s diet.

Sugar in children’s daily meals

Glucose is a simple carbohydrate and is generally found in the sucrose we consume daily. Once ingested, it remains in the bloodstream and moves to the liver to produce energy.

Meanwhile, the excess is stored and converted to fat. For this reason, it’s extremely important to monitor how much sugar is appropriate for children and how much they consume. The recommended daily amount for little ones is just 17 grams.

Developing good eating habits from a young age will accustom them to maintaining a diet balanced in nutrients and calories until adulthood. In the same way, a healthy menu is just what they need so that their body grows and develops in a healthy way.

For this reason, it’s best to eat natural sugars that come from fruits or vegetables. Processed foods, sweets and soft drinks should be avoided as much as possible.

How Much Sugar Is Appropriate for Children?

Knowing how much sugar is appropriate for children

Often, you want to please your children with food bought in the supermarket. In general, parents don’t know how much sugar is appropriate for children, so they allow their children to ingest these products without control.

These foods usually come loaded with saturated fats and have an excess of sugar. Even though children love them, they harm good health.

The daily recommended amount of sugar for children is easy to achieve with fruit juices or vegetable purees. A good option is to combine fruits and alternate them during the week. This allows children to become accustomed to different flavors and to develop a wider appetite.

It isn’t possible to avoid feeding little ones foods that contain added sugar altogether. These provide the energy children need to perform certain activities.

Most people have foods at home that contain a high level of sugar and that are very appealing to children. These can be incorporated into their daily diet as long as portions are controlled.

Examples of these foods include yogurt, cookies (eating at most 3 a day), soda or soft drinks and formula.

It’s very important to monitor your children’s sugar intake. The recommended daily amount for little ones is 17 grams.”

Consequences of high sugar consumption in children

Excess sugar in the body has negative health consequences for infants. That’s why it’s important to know how much sugar is appropriate for children.

Accustoming them from a young age to eating foods low in sugar and salt will help them to value the natural flavors of food. If children consume too much sugar, their caloric intake will be higher than what they use each day for energy.

If they consume sugar at night, they’ll probably experience difficulty falling asleep. As a result, they’ll wake up the next day feeling discouraged and wanting to continue sleeping.

All of this interrupts the normal unfolding of their daily development. In addition, it causes them to store fat and begin to gain weight.

How Much Sugar Is Appropriate for Children?

On the other hand, the pancreas begins to produce more insulin than is necessary in order to absorb the amount of sugar in the blood. All of this can create complications such as hypoglycemia or childhood diabetes.

There is also a risk that children will suffer from cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and obesity. The likelihood of developing these problems increases due to the abuse of sugar consumption.

In the same way, overweight children are more likely to resist insulin, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. If children gain too much weight, they’ll also experience an increase in the number of cells meant to store more fat, and this cannot be reduced in the future.

In conclusion, the main thing is to maintain a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and natural sugars. In this way, children’s growth will be strengthened without harming their health.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Macdonald IA., A review of recent evidence relating to sugars, insulin resistance and diabates. Eur J Nutr, 2016. 55(2): 17-23.
  • Freeman CR., Zehra A., Ramírez V., Wiers CE., Volkow ND., Wang GJ., Impact of sugar on the body, brain and behavior. Front Biosci, 2018. 23: 2255-2266.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.