There is no evidence that low carb\sugar is helpful for toddlers but when is it too much ?

Are there any general agreements on daily Carbs and Sugar (each) intake, specifically for a 1 year old ?

2 Answers 2


For 1-year-old children, the adequate intake is 95 grams per day of carbohydrates (which includes both complex carbohydrates and sugars), according to USDA. This also includes 5 grams of fiber per day. There are no specific USDA guidelines for sugars that I could find. Note that 1-year-olds get sugars mostly from breast milk or formula, and, to a lesser extent, from fruits. USDA recommends limiting or avoiding sugars in the form of juice and especially sodas and other sweetened drinks.


U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. April 2019. FNS-826. Infant Nutrition and Feeding: A Guide for Use in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC):

AI (adequate intake) represents an approximation of intake by a group of healthy individuals maintaining a defined nutritional status. It is a value set as a goal for individual intake of nutrients that do not have an RDA.


For 7-12 month-old infants, AI (adequate intake) is 95 grams/day of carbohydrates.

(Table 1.1, p. 6)

Sources of Carbohydrates

The major type of carbohydrate consumed during infancy is lactose, the carbohydrate source in human milk and infant formula. The carbohydrate in human milk is almost exclusively lactose and readily hydrolyzed in the infant’s intestine. The lactose content of human milk is approximately 74 grams per liter (g/L) and changes little over the total nursing period. As the infant gradually grows and consumes other foods, the volume of milk consumed decreases gradually over the first 12 months. Over the first 6 months of life, the adequate intake (AI) of 60 grams per day (g/day) represents 37 percent of total food energy. 9 This amount of carbohydrate and the ratio of carbohydrate to fat in human milk can be assumed to be optimal for infant growth and development over the first 6 months of life. For older infants, the total intake of carbohydrate from human milk and complementary foods is 95 g/day. In later infancy, infants derive carbohydrates from additional sources, including cereal and other grain products, fruits, and starchy vegetables such as potatoes and legumes.


Dietary fiber is found in legumes, whole-grain foods, fruits, and vegetables. Among other benefits, fiber helps the body move food through the digestive tract, delay glucose absorption, and slow down the process of starch hydrolysis. As complementary foods are introduced to the diet, fiber intake increases; however, no AI for fiber has been established due to lack of data on dietary fiber intake in this age group. It has been recommended that for infants 6–12 months of age, whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits, cooked green leafy vegetables, and legumes gradually be introduced to provide 5 grams of fiber per day by 1 year of age.

(p. 7)

Fruit Juice

Infants under 12 months of age should not consume juice unless clinically indicated. After 12 months, any juice consumed should be 100 percent pasteurized fruit juice, and from an open cup (i.e., not bottles or easily transportable covered cups). Be sure to give juice only during a meal or snack, and never offer more than 4 ounces each day. If an infant drinks more than this, his or her appetite for other nutrient- rich foods, such as human milk or formula, may be limited.54 NOTE: Giving an infant too much juice can result in diarrhea, diaper rash, or unnecessary weight gain.

(p. 130)

Sweetened Beverages

Sodas, fruit drinks, punches and “ades,” sweetened gelatin water, sweetened iced tea, and similar drinks are not recommended for infants because of their high sugar content. The sugars in these beverages are fermentable carbohydrates and thus can promote tooth decay.

(p. 132)

  • thank you, good find. Im wondering what the "Special Supplemental Nutrition Program" is comapred to a standard program..perhaps it is buried in there somewhere... Also, how does this guideline compare to other 1st world-healthy counties like Denmark ? (given we have terrible health in the US).
    – P.S.
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 19:47

I think that setting a limit, or even a goal to a babies carb intake is much more likely to cause damage than benefit. The amount of food that a person needs differs very much from person to person, some people eat twice as much as others without getting too heavy. With babies the difference is even much bigger, because they grow in phases and because the type of food they eat can be very different from one baby to the next. Some have mostly milk at the age of one, some already eat the same dinner as the parents.

Obviously unhealthy sugar should be limited, otherwise, I believe the baby knows best what it needs. If the weight is fine, and the doctor is happy with the development, there is nothing to worry about.

  • I would agree if this question was about calories and food quantity but "baby knows best what it needs" is incorrect when it comes to food quality. Otherwise toddlers would be perfectly happy to eat their veggies every day. Young children in general are incapable of selecting appropriate foods for themselves.
    – eipi
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 11:45
  • Many toddlers are perfectly happy to eat their veggies, mine was, and still is most of the time at age 5. I don't see the question being about healthy vs unhealthy food, there is no question that there should be pretty much no unhealthy food at age 1. The question is about limiting carbs and sugars. Carbs are an essential source of energy to grow and learn, and sugar should mostly come from fruit at that age. Limiting fruit will also influence vitamins.
    – Orbit
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 14:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .