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WHO warnings for excess sugar in baby food

WHO warnings for excess sugar in baby food

Many baby foods are marketed as "suitable" for children under six months of age and are not. Many of them contain inappropriately high levels of sugar.

The recommendation of the World Health Organization is that children should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. One of the strategies for the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding was the 2016 global guide with the aim of ending the inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children where it is explicitly stated that complementary foods should not be advertised for infants under six months.

Good nutrition in childhood remains essential to ensure optimal growth and development of children, as well as to achieve better health outcomes later in life, including prevention of overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases”Says Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

Increase children's taste for sweets

A third of baby foods that are marketed as suitable for children under 6 months contain high levels of sugar for this population group, according to research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

They contain among their ingredients sugar, concentrated fruit juice and other sweetening agents, which should not have been added.

Foods for infants and young children are expected to comply with established advice on nutrition and composition. However, there are concerns that many products may still be too high in sugar.”, Points out João Breda, head of the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases.

Sugars added to food may affect the development of children's taste preferences by increasing their taste for sweeter foods.

Although foods such as fruits and vegetables that naturally contain sugars are appropriate for infants and young children, the very high level of free sugars in commercial pureed products is also a concern.

With information from:

Video: Baby foods filled with hidden sugar (October 2020).