The average 9 to 13 year old child in the United States consumes 33 percent of their daily calories in the form of solid fat — i.e.: butter, shortening — and added sugars (also known as “discretionary calories”).
Source: Institute of Medicine
Ideally, discretionary calories should make up no more than ten percent of someone’s daily caloric intake.
This means that someone who consumes 2,500 calories a day is “allowed” up to 250 empty calories (“allowed” meaning that is the maximum amount that will have minimal negative implications on health).
The fact that the average child is consuming three times the limit is particularly disturbing because it makes it abundantly clear that certain nutrient needs are not being met if only 67 percent of calories deliver vitamins and minerals.
Sadly, federal authorities are too tied up in food industry lobbying to take any sort of stand. Any time the “discretionary calories should make up no more than 10 percent” figure has been whispered as an “official figure”, the ever-present sugar lobby reminds those in power of its deep pockets.