Only one in 20 yogurts aimed at children has a healthy sugar content, the campaigns warn.
And the worst perpetrator has five and a half teaspoons of sugar per. Pot-whole 16 malted milk biscuits or five chocolate digesters.
Healthy diet experts say claims of calcium and vitamin D content on sugary yoghurts ‘distract parents from examining nutrition labels’.
They are now calling on the government to impose stricter restrictions in an attempt to stop ‘misleading’ parents from buying the goods for their children.
And they want a ‘complete ban’ on using child-friendly packaging on yoghurt that has a medium or high sugar level.
Campaign group Action for Sugar looked at the nutrition information from 100 of the country’s most popular children’s yoghurts.
They targeted young people through bright packaging and cartoon characters, the researchers said.
Dietitians warn that giving children sugary yogurt can cause them to ‘get hooked on the sweet things for life’.
One in three children leaves primary school overweight, and obesity-related illnesses cost the NHS around £ 6 billion a year.
The NHS recommends that children aged four to six do not eat more than 19 grams of added sugar a day. And those between seven and 10 years should have no more than 24 g a day, the guidelines state.
Added sugar includes syrups and fruit concentrates stacked in popular yogurt.
The charity, based at Queen Mary University of London, found Nestlé’s Rolo Mix-in Toffee yogurt the worst culprit. It contained 20.6 g of sugar per 100 g.
By comparison, a McVitie’s Chocolate Digestive biscuit has about 4.8 grams of sugar.
Nestlés Smarties vanilla yoghurt (13.8 g), two Yoplait fruit yoghurts (13.3 g and 13.2 g) and Lidl’s Milbona raspberry yoghurt (12.5 g) rounded out the top five.
Popular kid-friendly brands, such as Frubes and Munch Bunch, were also among those with a high sugar content.
Meanwhile, only five options had healthy sugar levels – defined as less than 5 g per serving. 100 g.
This included two Petits Filous sugar-free options (4.9 g and 4.8 g) and two Nush almond milk yogurts (5 g and 2.2 g).
Is your plant-based grill really healthier than a meat? Vegetarian and vegan alternatives to sausages, burgers and kebabs can contain up to 10 times more sugar
Vegetarian and vegan equivalents of the country’s favorite barbecue can contain up to 10 times more sugar, MailOnline revealed this week.
And the worst offensive meat-free alternatives — that is often bandied as healthier compared to traditional staples – are up to six times saltier.
Dietitians warned that meat replacement products should not automatically be perceived as ‘healthier’ just because they do not contain red meat.
But they admitted that higher sugar and salt levels are not necessarily worse because many veggie options have fewer calories, less fat and more fiber.
Our analysis went into more detail on the nutritional benefits of a selection of barbecue favorites, including sausages and burgers as well as kebabs, bacon and meatballs.
Pr. 100 g of vegetarian chili and lime kebab made by Wicked Kitchen contains 2 g of sugar, compared to only 0.2 g for the same amount of Morrison’s lamb kebab.
And Two Birds Eye meat-free sausages contain 2.2 g of sugar, compared to just 0.5 g of two pork sausages sold at Tesco.
For burgers, there is less than 0.5 g of sugar in the meat options sold at Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
But the vegetarian alternatives of Linda McCartney (0.9 g), Heck (1.4 g) and Morrisons (2.1 g) have up to four times as much sugar.
Meanwhile, a plant-based steak from Vivera — which is sold in supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s and Asda — has 2.4g of sugar per serving. 200 g, while a ribeye steak at Sainsbury’s has less than 0.5 g.
Two slices of THIS veggie bacon (0.3 g) contains three times more sugar, compared to Tesco’s pork (0.1 g).
And Linda McCartney’s vegetarian meatballs (2.3 g) have up to five times more than Asda’s beef buns (less than 0.5 g).
Professor Gunter Kuhnle, an expert in nutrition and food science at the University of Reading, tells MailOnline: ‘I think one difficulty with many meat replacement products is that it is difficult to mimic the taste of the original product.
‘I assume this is a reason to introduce more salt or sugar.’
He said from a health point of view that a vegetarian product that has 10 times more sugar than a meat product ‘does not mean too much to most people’ if the calories in the food are the same.
‘Higher salinity can affect the risk of blood pressure and cardiovascular disease-but only if it is really high and easily would anyone get above the daily recommendation,’ he said.
Professor Kuhnle added: ‘In general, I think there is a problem with the perception that foods are’ healthier ‘just because they do not contain meat.
‘Meat is neither healthy nor unhealthy. It is just a kind of food that can supply energy and some important nutrients (especially vitamin B12 and iron), but more importantly, it is enjoyed by many people.
‘As with most other foods, consuming too much can have a negative impact on health – in the case of meat, the risk of cancer and potentially heart disease increases.’
A Coconut Collaborative mango and passion fruit yogurt also had healthy levels of sugar (4.6 g), the analysis found.
Overall, 63 percent of yogurt pots comprised one-third or more of a four- to six-year-old’s maximum daily intake of added sugar.
In addition, the yogurt packaging often contains claims of calcium, vitamin D and a high protein content, Action for Sugar said.
This creates a ‘distorted’ health halo ‘, suggesting that the products are completely healthy with only sugars from natural sources, such as lactose from milk, the charity said.
Researchers noted that the average fat content in three-quarters of the yogurt was healthy.
But two-thirds contained higher levels of saturated fat, which contribute to poor heart health.
Dr. Kawther Hashem, nutritionist and campaign manager at Action on Sugar, said companies are trying to ward off parents’ eyes from seeing the ‘significant amount’ of sugar on their nutrition labels by using ‘health-promoting claims and cartoon images’.
She said: ‘Parents can easily be misled when walking through the yoghurt aisle of the supermarket.
‘Given that only 5 per cent of yoghurt with child-friendly packaging would have a green label as’ healthy ‘for sugar, food companies must do everything possible to reduce the sugar in these products, especially those that are so explicitly targeted at children.’
Katharine Jenner, campaign director at Action on Sugar, said: ‘Smart marketing techniques like advertising, campaigns and packaging are powerful tools to get kids hooked on the sweet treats from a young age and for life.
‘While the government’s obesity strategy is taking bold steps to combat unhealthy advertising and publicity, they now need to ensure that food companies only use cartoons and health halo statements on their healthier products so parents can see more of what’s good for their children.’
Professor Graham MacGregor CBE, President of Action on Sugar and an expert in cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary’s said: ‘It is imperative that food companies act more responsibly and commit to reformulating sugar, salt and calorie reduction instead of tormenting unhealthy products. on us, which contains child-friendly packaging with misleading nutrition and health claims. ‘
Charlotte Stirling-Reed, a registered child nutrition expert, told MailOnline that the figures are a shame and disappointing, but ‘not really shocking’.
She said: ‘Many brands are making an effort to reduce sugar in their foods, and the government has asked brands that provide food for young children to do the same.
‘It would be good to see levels of sugar in children’s yoghurt greatly reduced across the board.
‘Ideally, we would like to see foods for babies and young children fit into the’ low sugar ‘category.
‘When I advise parents, I would always generally recommend offering babies and young children plain yoghurt without added sugar as much as possible to keep the level of free sugar as low as possible.
‘Even when sugary yogurts are introduced, children can often prefer these and reject plain yogurt, so it is best to focus on common varieties for as long as possible.’
Julia Wolman, a registered nutritionist specializing in family and child healthy eating, told MailOnline: ‘It’s quite shocking, although it’s not really surprising that so many yogurts aimed at children still contain added sugar.
‘Yoghurt is one of the products that will always have some sugar present, especially milk yoghurt, due to the lactose, which is a natural sugar found in milk.
‘But when artificial sugar is added, the yoghurt tastes super sweet and delicious – combined with health messages on the package, it’s easy to see why parents will keep buying them.
‘The problem is that when children get used to liking sweet foods, this taste preference can stay with them throughout their child, teenage and adult lives.
Although foods high in sugar are fine in moderate amounts, consuming too many over time can contribute to obesity, which can increase the risk of diet-related diseases.
‘Ideally, we want children to get used to the taste of yogurt with lower sugar in their early years.
‘A snack or dessert of natural yoghurt with pureed, mashed or chopped fruit would be the gold standard in my opinion.
‘It would be great to see more brands copying this type of sugar recipe without additives along with their cartoon characters and health claims on the package.’
A spokesman for health and social care said: ‘Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health challenges facing this country and we are taking big steps to drive the food and beverage industry to reduce sugar content.
There is more to do, and later this year we will be launching a consultation on the marketing and labeling of infant formula as part of our efforts to provide parents with the very best information.
‘We also restrict the advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar, change the law to reduce promotional offers on less healthy food and implement calorie labeling in major restaurants, cafes and takeaways.’
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, preferably whole grains, according to the NHS
Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Basic meals of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, preferably whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole grain biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole grain bread and large baked potato with the peel on
• Get some dairy or dairy products (eg soy drinks) to choose lower fat content and lower sugar settings
Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish each week, one of which should be fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and lubricants and ingest in small amounts
Drink 6-8 cups / glass of water a day
• Adults should have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
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