Study Shows Children Are Eating More Fake Sugar Than Ever Before

flickr / Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious
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Your youngster may be made of sugar, spice, and everything nice — that is, until you take away those sweets. Then all you have is the cayenne pepper equivalent of a kid, red with unspeakable rage. On top of worrying about their regular sugar intake, research shows you should be concerned about artificial sweeteners (aka fake sugar) as well. Because the only thing in their diet that you can’t pronounce should be quinoa.

The study, published in the Journal Of The Academy Of Nutrition And Dietetics, looked at 16,942 men, women, and children age 2 and up. Adult use of artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin was not great (44 percent said they consumed them multiple times a day). Back in 1999, less than 9 percent of kids were consuming low-calorie sweeteners. But by 2012 this spiked to 25 percent. That’s a nearly a 200 percent increase in tiny humans, which is a not-so-bitter bunch of chemicals to swallow.

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Your kid was born craving neither light yogurt nor Diet Coke, so curbing their intake is kind of on you. Since research shows that, ironically, these low-cal substitutes can lead to obesity, there goes their purpose. Study author Allison Sylvetsky suggests switching to water and plain yogurt with fruit, for starters. That’s so easy, even a kid can do it. On top of that, more studies show that the real thing (in moderation) won’t turn them into a hyper-hypo. But, to be fair, that’s better than a science project.

[H/T] TIME

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