29 June 2010A Must-Read for Parents: Sugar High for Babies
Not that this will come as a shock to anyone, but a new study showed that 53% of food products targeted to babies and toddlers in Canadian stores contain are 20% sugar. You know the same (or worse) is true of baby food in the U.S. Says one Canadian professor Charlene Elliot:
There is a presumed halo effect around baby and toddler foods because people expect these foods to be held to a higher standard…Yet this is not necessarily the case.
This draws attention to the, perhaps obvious, need to carefully examine the ingredient list. 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.
I was especially interested in this last point:
Elliott also observes that much of the packaging, labeling and framing of such foods play to adult conceptions and classifications of treats and of what it means to eat a meal. “The study contained baby food desserts and ‘premium organic cookies’ for toddlers — products that would be target adult tastes, as there is no nutritional reason that babies should complete their meals with Banana Coconut Cream Dessert puree or cookies, organic or otherwise. Equally significant is the way such products steer our youngest consumers down the wrong path in terms of reinforcing tastes for sweet foods.
AHA! So that’s where we get it from. Parents: Don’t train your kids to expect sweets after every meal!