A study done by professor Charlene Elliot at the University of Calgary in Canada revealed that 53% of food products specifically targeted to babies and toddlers in Canadian grocery stores have an excessive proportion (more than 20%) of calories coming from sugar. Elliot says, “people expect these foods to be held to a higher standard…yet this is not necessarily the case.”
Products in the study included pureed dinners and desserts, toddler entrees and dinners, snacks (biscuits, cookies, fruit snacks, snack bars and yogurts) and some cereals. “While the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults should limit their consumption of added sugars…these recommendations do not extend to children or toddlers. In fact, the AHA has not published specific ‘added sugar’ recommendations for children or toddlers—even though high sugar foods are deliberately created for them," says Elliot.
Elliott also observes that much of the packaging, labeling and framing of such foods are somewhat deceptive to adults that expect their toddler’s meals to be more nutritional. Parents are advised to be more aware and carefully read the packaging on the foods they purchase for their toddlers.
This trend towards sugary toddler foods is dangerous in terms of reinforcing the taste for sweet foods in toddlers and children. While this study was done with Canadian toddler food, it makes one wonder about the amounts of sugar in toddler foods in the U.S.