Snack company KIND dumped 45,485 pounds of sugar in Times Square Tuesday to spark conversation about how much added sugar children consume.
The American Heart Association recommends children eat no more than 100 calories (about six teaspoons) of added sugars, also known as free sugars, daily. But, children are eating much more than that — over 270 calories according to data in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Most comes from sweetened drinks.
KIND estimates the average 9-year-old eats their weight in added sugar each year.
The 45,485 pounds of sugar in New York City’s Times Square is meant to represent how much added sugar American children are eating every 5 minutes.
“Hopefully it empowers consumers – especially parents – to make more informed food choices,” said Stephanie Perruzza, RD, Health & Wellness Specialist at KIND.
Added sugars are sugars manufactures add to foods, as well as honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. Children who consume too much added sugar are at risk to become overweight or obese. Studies have also said such sugars increase the risk of death from heart disease. Perhaps the biggest problem with added sugars is that they are what many call empty calories, meaning they have no nutritional value.
“Added sugars provide excess calories without any beneficial nutrients,” Perruzza said. “By reducing them in children’s diets, you’re creating more of an opportunity to introduce nutritious food options like fruits, vegetables, whole grains.”