Study: Kids in U.S. decrease sugar intake

4:22 PM, Jun 3, 2013   |    comments
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PRIOR LAKE, Minn. - Is America finally kicking the sugar habit?

New research out on Monday shows that kids are taking in less sugar.

Kelli Schulte, of Prior Lake, says it can be done. When it comes to lunch at her house, there is no pop, juice or cookies on the menu.

"It has been a real journey for us," Schulte said.

What was initially an effort to reduce health issues for her oldest daughter, Schulte has eliminated most sugars from her family's diet and she says her five kids are all healthier for it.

"I feel the key to our success has just been teaching them along the way," Schulte said. "So like teaching them what does sugar actually do to your body and why don't I want them to have that."

A new study done for USA Today by NPD Group shows that kids in the U.S. are eating fewer sugary sweets than they did 15 years ago.

The study looked at the 20 most common sugary foods and found that overall. Kids ate 126 fewer servings in 2012 than in 1998.

Within that grand total, that's 62 fewer soft drinks, 22 fewer servings of pre-sweetened cereal and 16 fewer servings of fruit juice.

The study says kids are eating more yogurt and fruit snacks than in 1998, but overall experts say it's a significant decline.

Shulte has a blog called Kingdom Kids Nutrition, a book by the same name and a moms group, where she shares her recipes and she said interest is growing.

She said of the mom's she's talked to, "They're very interested in helping their kids eat healthier."

Schulte does sweeten food with maple sugar and honey, and she lets her kids eat sugar at birthday parties.

"As they learn, as they go, they can make better choices," she said.

We asked the folks at General Mills, maker of a variety of cereals, if they've noticed the change.

They sent the following statement:

General Mills is a leader in reducing sugar in kid-advertised cereals, as well as increasing key nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D and whole grain. Since 2007, we've lowered sugar levels in our kid cereals by 16 percent.  Today, all Big G cereals advertised to children have 10 grams of sugar or less per serving.

We are continuing to work toward reducing sugar so that all our kid advertised cereals will label at 9 grams or less per serving, while maintaining the same great taste people enjoy in their favorite cereals.

Frequent cereal eaters - including people who choose sweet cereals - tend to have healthier body weights than those who don't eat cereal. And that is true of kids as well.

Cereal is a leading source of many key vitamins and minerals for kids at breakfast. And, eating cereal promotes milk consumption.  Cereal with milk accounts for nearly 30 percent of the milk kids consume.

--Tricia Kinney, Research and Development Director for Big G Cereals

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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