Friday, May 29, 2015

Do Baby Foods Contain Excessive Salt And Sugar?

Consuming high content of salt will raise the risk of getting high blood pressure that will eventually lead to heart disease and stroke. Taking excessive amount of sugar can cause people to become overweight or even obese, which is associated with many disorders including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and Type-2 diabetes.

While many people are aware of these health risks and taking steps to cut down the consumption of packaged and processed foods, there is evidence showing that adults are giving foods packed with salt and sugar to their babies and toddlers. A new study, which was published online February 2, 2015 in journal ‘Pediatrics’, reported that many baby and toddler foods often contain too much sugar or sodium.

Being conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the study examined the nutritional information of 1,074 infant and toddler food products taken from 2012 nutrient database. The majority of infant foods were found to be low in sodium.

Of the 79 infant mixed grains and fruits, 41 contained at least one added sugar and 35 also had at least 35 percent of calories coming from sugar. Toddler foods fared poorly, too. 72 percent of toddler dinners contain more than 210 mg of sodium. About half the foods made for toddlers contained amount of sodium equivalent of plain potato chips. 32 percent of toddler dinners and the majority of other toddler foods contained more than 1 added sugar.

In the United States, almost 80 percent of kids aged between 1 and 3 consume more than the recommended daily maximum level of salt (1,500 mg). It is also known that about 1 in 9 children have blood pressure above the normal range for their age, and excess sodium is associated with increased blood pressure. Blood pressure tracks from when children are young into when they are adults.

Though there are no conclusive studies indicating that introducing sugar too early can actually lead to an increased likelihood of diabetes, giving infants and toddlers too much sodium and sugar will make them picky eaters. After eating tasty foods with too much salt and sugar, they will probably not going to have some healthy like fresh vegetables.

Nevertheless, the Grocery Manufacturers Association of America (GMA) issued a statement defending that the food products examined in the study was based on 2012 database that did not reflect a wide range of new healthy products with lower sodium.

As suggested by some health experts, it is best for parents to make their own food, if possible. Parents are also advised to spend an extra 5 or 10 minutes to read the labels to find out the contents of sodium and sugar before buying any products for their children.  

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