Monday May 27, 2024

Doctors call for sugar and salt limits in baby food

Research shows that certain baby food pouches may contain more sugar than Coca-Cola

By Web Desk
December 28, 2022
A woman feeding a baby with a spoon.— Unsplash
A woman feeding a baby with a spoon.— Unsplash

In the UK, paediatricians and dentists have urged the government to set binding, nationwide limitations on the amount of salt and sugar that can be used in baby food.

Leading medical professionals have called it a "national disgrace" that some goods that infants consume have more sugar than a Coca-Cola soft drink.

Despite medical recommendations that babies should not consume any sugar, they warned and noted that some foods intended for infants younger than one year may potentially contain up to two-thirds of an adult's daily recommended sugar intake, endangering future generations' health.

Former Conservative chancellor George Osborne and former Labour Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair both repeated the need for further action on child health in the UK.

With one in three children becoming overweight by the time they graduate from primary school in Britain, childhood obesity is on the rise.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) of the UK, which made the request for action, claimed that the government had not taken any action regarding the draught commercial infant food and drink guidelines it had suggested in 2020, reported Daily Mail.

The institution said that as a result, there were no restrictions on the quantity of salt and sugar that may be in products on supermarket shelves, turning the business into a Wild West.

The current lack of action, according to RCPCH President Dr Camilla Kingdon, cannot continue.

"It's a national disgrace that there is currently zero guidance on the salt and sugar levels in products aimed at infants, who are in a critical stage of their development,' she was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

"In my own practice, I see parents of very small babies buy baby food pouches and pots with the assumption that they are giving their children the best start they can," she added.

Buzzwords like "all organic," "natural sugars," and "nutritionally approved" are employed in marketing methods targeted at parents. This is at best dishonest, she believes.

Action has also been requested by the British Dental Association (BDA), which earlier this year published research demonstrating that certain baby food pouches may contain more sugar by volume than Coca-Cola.

According to BDA chair Eddie Crouch, the government cannot keep allowing parents to be duped into allowing their kids to develop a sugar addiction.

"Tooth decay is the number one reason for hospital admissions among young children," he was quoted as saying by the outlet.

Ministers, however, encourage parents to purchase items that expose their children to sugar from an early age, he claimed warning that if nothing is done in this regard, the food industry will keep marketing items more sugary than cola as healthy alternatives.

More work must be done, according to Osborne, who referred to the lack of progress in this area as "disappointing."

By October 2022, TV and online advertisements for foods heavy in fat, sugar, and salt were scheduled to stop, as part of an anti-obesity campaign that was mostly implemented under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

However, it was recently discovered that the government had delayed the restrictions until October 2025 in order to allow businesses more time to rework their products and revise their marketing plans.

The BDA's investigation, which was released in July, looked at 109 baby food pouches intended for infants less than 12 months.

Several of the goods had up to two-thirds of the daily recommended sugar intake for adults of 30g.

According to NHS recommendations, there is no upper limit on the amount of sugar that children under the age of four should ingest, although it is advised to limit their intake as much as possible.

The World Health Organisation advises consuming little to no sugar in the diet of newborns. One of the things that are thought to lead to childhood obesity is high sugar intake.

Type 2 diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure are just a few of the health challenges that being overweight may bring; according to the RCPCH, these conditions are becoming more common in kids.

Too much sugar contributes to dental decay, which over the past four years has become the leading cause of hospital admissions in children between the ages of five and nine in the UK.