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American Heart Association releases new guidelines on added sugars

by Gabrielle Frank / / Source: TODAY

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Do you know how much sugar your kids are eating? Probably not — and the American Heart Association is trying to change that.

U.S. children eat three times as much added sugar as they should, according to the AHA. To limit that number, the new recommendation from the AHA is that kids should only eat six teaspoons of added sugar a day and drink no more than eight ounces of sugary beverages a week.

Children under 2 years old shouldn't have any added sugars.

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Added sugar is just that, extra sugar that is added to foods during processing or preparation. It frequently shows up in foods you wouldn't suspect.

RELATED: 8 tips for dealing with sugar cravings

If you're looking at a nutritional label, one teaspoon is equal to five grams of added sugar. NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar stopped by TODAY to highlight how much added sugar is hiding in foods your kids eat regularly. Here are a few examples:

RELATED: Eat less sugar, go for the veggies, new government guidelines say

1. 6 ounces of flavored yogurt = 5.4 teaspoons of added sugar

2. 1 cup of chocolate pudding = 6.8 teaspoons of added sugar

3. 1 cup of spaghetti sauce = 2 teaspoons of added sugar

RELATED: Here's how sugar might fuel the growth of cancer

Other major culprits: breads, breakfast cereals and sports drinks. Added sugars are disguised on food labels as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose and more.

Take a minute to learn how to decode a food label and take a closer look at the foods your kids are eating. Excess sugar has been linked to a host of health issues, and it's easier to break the habit when you're young.

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