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Recent Study Finds High Sugar Content in Snacks for Children

Thursday, August 05, 2010 by: Christine Roberts
Tags: sugar, snacks, health news

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(NewsTarget) A recent study on 186 food products intended to be consumed by children found many toddler snacks and cereals to contain remarkably high amounts of sugar. The study was conducted by Charlene Eliott culture and communications professor at the University of Calgary.

The study reviewed cereal bars, fruit snacks and cookies finding that over half of the items had an "excessive portion" of calories contributed from sugar.

Of the products studied, forty percent were found to have different types of sugars listed within the first four ingredients on the package. They could be found by many names including glucose, fructose, galactose, honey, corn syrup and dextrose.

It can be a wide assumption by parents and caregivers that baby and toddler products are manufactured under a higher code of standards. "Many parents mistakenly assume that baby and toddler specialty items are held to a higher standard and are healthier for children to consume than adult food" said University of Calgary professor Charlene Elliott.

Recommended guidelines set out by The American Heart Association suggests that adults contain their consumption of added sugars to six teaspoons a day for woman and nine for men, though guidelines for infants and toddlers are not set.

"When you`ve got this push to take sugars out of the diets of adults, why are these types of foods then being marketed to young children?" wondered Elliott.

A large amount of the products in the study were found to be geared towards adult tastes encouraging children's taste buds at a very early age to begin to recognize certain flavours. Many of the foods in the study were found to have worse food equivalency than similar adult snacks.

Many food manufacturers know that fast snacks, cereals and table ready meals appeal to busy parents and caregivers because of their ease of use. They also know that a colourful package with a friendly character on it can increase a child's interest in a product.

Out of the 186 food items studied, simple purees of vegetables and fruits as well as infant formula were not a part of the research.

Dieticians are recommending parents and caregivers read food labels carefully and lead by example with healthy food habits.

Andrea Holwegner of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting said "Parents will often say, `My kids won`t eat broccoli.` My first question is, `Do you?` The apple doesn`t fall far from the tree."

The study Sweet and salty: nutritional content and analysis of baby and toddler foods by Charlene Elliott is available on the Journal of Public Health website at: http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/con...





About the author

Christine Roberts is a certified Natural Health Consultant who enjoys yoga, healing arts, heirloom gardening and writing. She provides resources, inspiration and support to those seeking holistic guidence. She offers help in person as well as through her online site http://www.holisticambtions.com in a means to encourage everyone to live their best lives naturally. She also works full time as an eco friendly cleaning technician.

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