Many five-year-olds in Taiwan consume excessive amounts of refined sugar, according to a study published in a local medical publication.
The study by Lu Li-ching (盧立卿), a professor at National Taiwan Normal University, found that one in three children aged five absorb an average of more than 120 calories per day from sugary drinks and pastries — more than 10 percent of the recommended total daily intake of 1,200 calories.
For an adult, nutritionists recommend a daily total intake of 2,000 calories, of which no more than 200 should come from refined sugar.
Lu surveyed 301 children at age two, tracing their dietary habits up to the age of five and obtained 132 valid samples.
Tea drinks may contain both refined sugar and caffeine, which can also affect children’s growth, he said. Tea drinks also contain tannin, an astringent compound that can inhibit calcium and iron uptake, he added.
Another problem with milk tea and other tea drinks is their incorporation of trans fats, and he recommended that children not consume this kind of beverage.
Lu’s study was carried in the latest issue of Taiwan J Public Health, a Taiwan Public Health Association publication.