A recent study indicates that over a third of safe baby food marked as “healthy” might have sugar levels that are too high.
Action on Sugar (AoS) is a group of experts who study sugar and how it affects human health. They have studied 73 baby sweet snacks, including Heinz Farley’s Mini Rusks and Organix Banana Soft Oaty Bars. Study results showed that they had as much sugar as two teaspoons, regardless of “healthy sounding” labels on packs.
Of all these products evaluated during Sugar Awareness Week, more than 37 per cent had sugar levels high enough to get a warning for being unnecessary.
The AoS thinks there should be an end to misleading food and health labelling on snack packaging. Most importantly, it contains ‘no added or refined sugar’ when fruit concentrates replace such ingredients.
Nutritionist and campaign director at AoS, Katharine Jenner, warns that these products contain free sugars, and their use needs to be limited.
She stated: “Many product labels include health claims aimed at putting the minds of parents at ease, so they don’t realize how steep the sugar content is.
“There is potential for baby foods to ease the strain on stressed parents and to meet the nutritional requirements of their growing kids.
“However, they must do so in a healthy way: they must support the baby in their growth, they must not endanger the baby’s health, and parents must have the information they need to make the decisions about purchase.”
Children’s Sugar Feeding Guidelines By The NHS
The NHS cautions: “Sugars are not good for your baby”, and Lucy Upton, paediatric dietitian, warns that consuming sugar could mean they miss out on essential nutrients.
She said: “Few studies have confirmed that babies and children aged six months to two years must limit free or added sugars for several reasons, primarily for health and nutritional concerns.
“Some studies suggest that energy intake may increase, and particularly for children, this may result in a loss of other nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development.”
Warning To Parents About Feeding Babies Snacks
Jenner says that young children should not have snacks, especially those that contain sugar.
She added: “For babies less than 12 months of age, it is not necessary to feed them snacks. However, they can use mini-meals as supplements to their diet. There are, however, a growing number of snacks for babies aged 6 months and up, whose packaging indicates they are appropriate for babies 6 months and older.
“Age is often confused with diet requirements, but it has more to do with food safety.”