How much sugar or stevia should children consume?

What’s the upper daily dosage of sugar for kids?

Kids love sugar. They have an innate preference for sweet taste. As sugar may cause obesity, or have other negative health effects in adulthood, children shouldn’t consume too much sugar or other sweeteners, such as stevia.

It’s recommended for children to limit their daily consumption of free sugars to less than 5% of the daily calorie intake. Infants should consume even less. So, kids should consume up to 6 tsp, or 25g of added sugar daily.[1,2]

Moreover, children shouldn’t consume more than 4 mg of stevia per kg body weight (or 1.8 mg per lb) a day.[3] Although, stevia contains no calories, and it’s healthier than sugar, and other artificial sweeteners, stevia can make us gain weight.

How much sugar do children consume?

Children consume more sugar, or other sweeteners, than the upper recommended daily intake. A key source of sugar consumption is beverages. Nowadays, children drink more sweetened beverages than ever.

Most noteworthy, children consume the highest amount of sugar, stevia, or other artificial sweeteners relative to their weight per day.[4] This can lead to weight gain, and many diseases.

But, how many soft drinks could children consume a day? There isn’t an easy answer. The FDA doesn’t require manufacturers to report the actual amounts of sweeteners in beverages. As a rule of thumb, children shouldn’t drink soft drinks every day. It’s important for kids to develop good dietary habits. Above all, parents should teach children to avoid drinking soft drinks and eating foods with sweet taste.

Drinking lots of soft drinks may make adults gain weight, as well.

Sugar, stevia & other sweeteners may make kids fat

Furthermore, parents should teach children to prefer natural sources of sugar, such as fruits. Fruits are packed with vitamins and fiber. Sugar from fruits doesn’t have the same effect, as free sugar. Fruits don’t make us gain weight.

On the contrary, free sugar is bad for kids. First, it’s addictive! It releases endorphins, and dopamine, making us feel good. All sweeteners seem to have the same effect, though. Sugar, stevia, and other artificial sweeteners stimulate brain reward signaling.

Regular exposure to sugar and other sweeteners can alter food taste and food preferences! So, children want to consume sweets and soft drinks every day. It’s not their fault. Sweeteners are addictive. Above all, they can’t enjoy the taste of natural food, such as vegetables and fruits! They tend to consume fatty and sugary foods which lead to obesity.

Even sweeteners without calories can make us fat. Sweeteners are many times sweeter than sugar. For instance, stevia is about 300 times sweeter than sugar!

Besides weight gain, sugar, along with other sweeteners can increase the risk of dental caries. Also, sweeteners make children to follow a poor diet, low in nutrients. Even in adulthood! Most noteworthy, sugar soft drinks, and even beverages with other sweeteners, may be associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular risk, and many other health effects.