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Why the fuss about sugar?
While we are born with a sweet tooth, liking more bitter tastes such as vegetables is something our children have to learn. Studies have shown that the first two years of a child’s life are the ideal time to do so. Being used to sweet meals from early on will have an effect on preferences later on in life. An energy-dense diet with high intake of free sugar and saturated fat has been linked to obesity and associated diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. An analysis by Public Health England has shown that baby meals, especially the ones labelled as first foods, contain unacceptable high amounts of sugar.
What are free sugars?
Free sugars are all sugars added to foods by the cook or manufacturer, or those in honey, syrups, molasses, unsweetened fruit juices or fruit concentrates.
How much sugar should my child have per day?
There are no strict recommendations about the maximum amount of sugar for under 2 year olds. A rough guideline is that a maximum of 5% of a child’s calorie intake should come from free sugars per day. This equals between 5g to 10g of free sugar per day, depending on a child’s weight.
Why are heat-sterilised fruit pouches high in sugar?
When fruits are heat-treated, for example for fruit pouches, their natural structure is broken down and the fruit sugar is released from the inside of the cells. In addition, the heat will make the water content of the fruits evaporate and concentrate the puree even further. Even if a pouch is labelled as ‘no added sugar’, the sugar content is often shockingly high. Some pouches contain as much as 20g/100g free sugar - double the amount found in 100ml of Coca Cola.
What can I do to avoid giving my child too much sugar?
When you shop for ready-made baby meals, make sure to check the ingredient list. Avoid any pouches or jars which contain fruit purees or concentrates. When you check the label, opt for meals containing less than 5g/100g sugar for vegetable ones and less than 8g/100g for fruity meals.
What does Little Tummy do to support parents?
At Little Tummy, we want to provide your little one with the healthiest meals. This is why our in-house paediatrician Dr Sophie has reduced the amount of free sugar in our meals as much as possible. Some sugar will still be released when we gently blend our fruit but all our meals contain less than 7g/100g free sugar. We never use pre-processed fruit purees. As we use a cold-pressure method to increase the shelf life of our meals, we don’t need to heat-sterilise them. This is another gentle method to reduce free sugars.