Baby food sugar content slammed
Just over half the foods specifically targeted at babies and toddlers have a high sugar content and are far too sweet, according to a Canadian study.
Researchers analysed a wide range of ‘toddler’ foods from puréed dinners and desserts to cereals, biscuits and yogurts to find out how healthy they were for youngsters.
But the report found 53 per cent of food products specifically targeted at babies and toddlers had 20 per cent of their calories coming from sugar. Researchers noted, however, there was no universally excepted standard for sugar content.
The study, led by Professor Charlene Elliott of the University of Calgary, examined sugar and sodium levels in 186 Canadian food products marketed for youngsters. They were compared to similar products for adults to see whether they were any healthier.
The study, published in the Journal of Public Health, used established guidelines that suggest foods are of poor nutritional quality if more than 20 per cent of their calories derive from sugar.
Over half of the products examined met these criteria. Forty per cent of products listed sugar – or some variant like corn syrup, cane syrup, brown sugar, or dextrose – in the first four ingredients on the label.
“This draws attention to the, perhaps obvious, need to carefully examine the ingredients list,” says Professor Elliott. “While some products derive their sugar content from naturally occurring fruit sugars, many products also contain added sugars. It remains fair to ask why it is necessary to add sugar to these baby or toddler products in the first place.”