17 Nov

New report suggests babies and toddlers could become addicted to sugary foods

A new report has suggested that babies and toddlers could become addicted to sugary foods due to high sugar content in some infant food products.

Action on Sugar has produced a new report, which raises concerns over the potential for babies and young children to become addicted to infant foods, particularly snacks. According to campaigners, many products that are marketed as healthy snacks contain alarmingly high levels of sugar.

Researchers found that out of the 73 products analysed, 37% would qualify for a red traffic light for sugar content. All the products that were evaluated by the team had health-related claims on the packaging.

The worst offenders on the list were Heinz Farley’s Mini Rusks, which contain 8.3g of sugar per serving and Kiddylicious Banana Crispy Tiddlers, which contain 59g of sugar per 100g. Only 6 out of 73 products would be given a green traffic light label.

The report was published to coincide with the launch of Sugar Awareness Week, which ran from the 8th to 14th November.

Dr Kawther Hashem, campaign lead at Action on Sugar and research fellow at Queen Mary University of London, said that it was “ludicrous” that manufacturers were allowed to market high-sugar foods to parents of infants and toddlers.

Very young children should not be given free sugars and many of the claims featured on the packaging are misleading. There is a risk that infants will become addicted to sugary foods, which will impact their health from an early age.

A survey conducted by Action on Sugar revealed that 84% of parents buy sweet snacks for their children, with 60% suggesting they buy snacks because they have a ‘no added sugar’ claim and over 90% preferring to buy products that have natural sugars.

In light of the findings, campaigners are calling for a clampdown on marketing ploys and the use of misleading health information. The group has also urged the government to mandate and publish new guidelines for commercial infant products.