USDA Report Calls For End Of Added Sugar In Baby Foods

A new dietary report issued by federal health officials calls for added sugars to be removed from food and drinks consumed by infants and toddlers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released new 2020 Dietary Guidelines this week, which recommend that sugar not be added to infant and baby foods, due to the their link to an increased risk of obesity.

USDA advisory panel experts outlined final dietary recommendations which emphasize that no amount of sugar added to infant and toddler food or drinks is acceptable. The experts determined the consumption of sugar additives have adverse health consequences on both a baby’s physical and cognitive development.

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Nutritional exposure during the first 1,000 days of life is key, according to the report. It indicates the types of food ingested not only contribute to short and long-term health, but also help shape taste preferences and food choices.

The report recommends parents and guardians avoid added sugars including brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose, which all may have negative impacts on a developing child.

Previous studies have suggested the introduction of these types of sugar additives can affect neurological development and the endocrine system, which regulates hormones. A disruption in the endocrine system could negatively impact and interfere with a child’s hormones, growth and development, potentially causing consequences as wide-ranging as infertility, obesity, cardiovascular disease and decreased immunity, according to the study.

The recommendations to remove sugar from children two years of age and under follows previous, similar, guidelines, however take a much more solid stance, indicating there is no health benefit to the early introduction of added sugars.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported childhood obesity has become one of the most serious problems in the United States, reaching 18.5% among children two to 19 years of age, accounting for roughly 13.7 million either overweight or obese children.

The recommendations by the panel are set to be sent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSIS), which uses them to create the final 2020 to 2025 dietary guidelines that dictate much of what Americans will eat over the next five years. While the advisory board’s recommendations are not binding, they heavily influence the final guidelines.

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