A recent data brief issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that children and adolescents consume more added sugar calories from food as opposed to beverages. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which relied on data from the National Health and Examination Survey, “Boys consumed more calories per day from added sugars than girls,” with caloric intake from added sugars increasing linearly with age for both boys and girls. In particular, NCHS reported that (i) pre-school aged boys and girls (2-5 years) consumed 13.5 percent and 13.1 percent of their calories from added sugars, respectively; (ii) school-age boys and girls (6-11 years) consumed 16.6 percent and 15.7 percent of their calories from added sugars, respectively; and (iii) adolescent boys and girls (12-19 years) consumed 17.5 percent and 16.6 percent of their calories from added sugars, respectively. NCHS also noted some differences in the percent of calories consumed from added sugars by race and ethnicity, but found “no significant difference in the percent of total calories from added sugars based on poverty income ratio either for boys or girls.”

As NCHS explained, however, its findings evidently challenge previous research claiming “that sodas are the single leading food source of added sugars intakes among children, adolescents and adults.” Instead, the survey data apparently indicated that not only were more added sugars consumed “at home rather than away from home for both beverages and foods,” but that “[59] percent of added sugars calories came from foods compared with 41 [percent] that came from beverages.”

“A substantial percentage of calories in the diets of children and adolescents between 2005 and 2008 came from added sugars,” concludes the NCHS report, which ultimately backs the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommendation to reduce the consumption of added sugars regardless of their source. “This strategy could play an important role in reducing the high prevalence of obesity in the United States without compromising adequate nutrition.”