One of the researchers involved in the new study is Mary E. Cogswell from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. She notes that for young babies, the majority of foods have a low content of sodium, and foods made of vegetables, fruits and dry cereals do not contain any added sugar.
The real problem is with toddler food. According to the new study, seven out of 10 packaged foods for young toddles were found to contain an excessive amount of sodium.
Cogswell wrote that many of the toddler foods and snacks, even the meals that are not considered “sweets”, including salty snacks, contain at least one added sugar.
Cogswell said that a healthy diet is poor in added sugars and salt and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. She advises families with young babies to teach them from an early age how to have healthy eating habits.
This is crucial for preventing chronic diseases later in life, diseases that are associated with bad food choices.
According to Cogswell, the recommended daily salt intake ranges from 120 ml for infants aged 0-6 months old, 370 mg for toddler between the ages of 7-12 months, and 1,000 mg for babies aged 1-3 years.
The study gathered and analyzed the data from more than 1,000 packaged foods and drinks for infants and toddlers. The results show that more than 600 vegetables, meals, dry cereals and ready-to-serve grains and fruits meant for babies under the age of 1 have a low sodium content.
However, more than three quarters of dinner for toddlers aged 1-3 years old were found to be high in sodium, which means that these foods contain more than 210 mg of salt per serving.
The study also shows that some toddler foods contained a high content of added sugar, more than 35% of the foods’ total calories. The types of added sugar include corn syrup, honey, fructose or high-fructose corn syrup.
Cogsewell advises parents to read carefully the nutrition panel on processed foods, and should look for foods that are labeled “no salt”, “low-sodium” and “no sugar added”.
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