Three-year-olds eating 'excessive' 10 teaspoons of sugar per day
Irish three-year-olds are eating an average of 10 teaspoons of free sugar a day, according to a major new study which brands the consumption "excessively high".
The Trinity College research found that three out of four three-year-olds are consuming more than the maximum recommended daily amount of free sugar.
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The dental study cites free sugar - defined as sugar added to food along with natural sugar found in honey, syrup and fruit juices - as the highest risk factor for dental decay among pre-schoolers.
The research found cakes, biscuits and confectionery account for 37pc of the daily total free sugar intake for three-year-olds - which ties in with recent figures revealing Ireland is one of the world's leading consumers of chocolate and sweets.
The study found that three-year-olds' sugar consumption represents 14pc of their daily calories or total energy intake.
This is 40pc higher than the maximum level recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of less than 10pc of daily calories.
While 75pc of three-year-olds exceeded WHO guidelines, only a tiny fraction met WHO's further recommendation of less than 5pc of total energy intake in a day, which would add extra health benefits.