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News Article

Toddler foods are ‘misleading’ on sugar content

Starting children off on a sugar addiction at young age

Sugar addiction is starting at a younger age, as many weaning and toddler food contain staggering amounts of sugar and sweetener – say Action on Sugar at the start of Sugar Awareness week.

The snack type foods typically aimed at weaning infants and toddlers, while the sugars are naturally derived from concentrated juice, health experts warn they are still likely to encourage a ‘sweet-tooth’ in children.

Research conducted by Action on Sugar, a campaign group for the reduction and awareness of sugar in processed food products based at Queen Mary University of London, say that the ‘healthy’ claims are ‘misleading’.

Many of the products tested by the campaign group contained free sugars above the amount recommended for the age group, and of the foods tested over a third (37%) would receive a red (high) label for sugars.

One sample of branded baby rusks sampled contained over two teaspoons of sugar or 29g per 100g – but the product was still labelled as ‘healthy’ due to the added vitamins and minerals, despite containing added sugar.

While Action on Sugar say that many of the brands have misleading nutrition claims, there is also a loophole in legislation, means that many of these products can brand themselves as ‘healthy’ and ‘nutritious’ despite containing excess amounts of sugar.

Infant food products also do not have to display coloured coded labelling, under the current UK wide traffic light system the food products tested would be ‘red’ for sugars.

A public survey conducted on the parents with infants and young children under 3 years of age, found an overwhelming majority 92% “said they were more inclined to buy products containing ‘natural sources’ of sugars (e.g. fruit).”

This is probably due to the misconception that fruit sugars are healthy when in fact any free sugars can be damaging regardless of origin.

If you are interested in the nutritional value of foods, Action on Sugar have uploaded their findings to the Foodswitch database, a tool which helps consumers pick healthy lower fat/salt/sugar foots.


Action on Sugar (2021) Baby & Toddler Sweet Snacks


Article details

  • Author(s)
  • Jesslyn Thay
  • Date
  • 10 November 2021
  • Source
  • Action on Sugar
  • Subject(s)
  • Nutrition & health