Baby food sold in Europe contains more sugar than is healthy for young children. It shows two new World Health Organization (WHO) studies for which SVT was the first report.
The studies are based on the content of food and drink from Vienna, Budapest, Sofia and Haifa, intended for children between six months and three years of age.
In three of the cities, more than one-third of the calories in more than half of the products come from sugar. But in Sweden there is no corresponding compilation of the amount of sugar in baby foods.
Checks are made
There are general EU rules governing the composition of baby food and there is a limit to how much sugar the food can contain. In Sweden, food checks are also carried out at regular intervals.
Baby foods are controlled in the same way as other foods so that they are safe and have the right composition, and there is no reason to specifically investigate baby food producers, says Eva Sodergren of the National Food Agency.
Like the WHO, the agency considers the issue of sugar in baby food important, but Sweden does not propose a complete ban.
We are actively working with the EU to update baby food rules and are looking at how best to limit the amount of sugar. Then we also advise parents to reduce the amount of sweetened foods as much as possible and to avoid sugary drinks.
Major health risks
There are great health risks with excessive amounts of added sugary sweet baby food. The Swedish Food Agency states that it is important to reduce the amount of added sugar in baby foods.
Sugar contains mostly empty calories and very little nutrition, vitamins and minerals. If you give your children lots of sweet foods, the baby gets used to the sweet flavors. Then they run the risk of gaining a lot of calories in the long run, which can lead to being overweight, obese and having diabetes later in life. You also run the risk of getting tooth decay and holes.
It is also important for children to learn many different flavors and textures. Then you help them from the very beginning of good eating habits and give them a chance to develop a healthy lifestyle.