Sugar Composition and Level of Commercially Available Infant Formulae in the United Arab Emirates
Awad, Rawan Osama Ahmed
MetadataShow full item record
Background: Infant formulae are a primary source of nutrition during the first years of life. Frequently, sugar is added to these formulae, which can lead to different adverse health problems including early childhood caries, if consumed excessively or with bad feeding habits. Aim: To assess the amount and type of dietary sugars in commercially available infant formulae in the UAE. Materials and Methods: This study involved measuring sucrose, glucose, and fructose in 71 different brands of commercially available infant formulae for retail sale in the UAE. Organic and non-organic milk-based, and soy-based formulae recommended for healthy infants from birth until three years of age were included. Hydrolyzed rice, lactose-free, and goat milk formulae were also included. The experimental analysis was conducted in a private laboratory in Dubai. The process of quantifying sugars was performed using high-performance liquid chromatography with refractive index detection (HPLC-RI), with the limit of detection (LOD) set at 0.1 g/100ml. Sugar values were determined and compared with nutritional labels. Descriptive analysis was performed using tables. Comparison between this study’s findings, data on the products’ labels, World Health Organization (WHO) standards, and The European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) Standards for infant formulae was done. Results: Out of the 71 samples, 23 had detectable sugar levels. 12 samples had glucose, one sample had fructose, and 10 samples had sucrose. Of all infant formulae products that were analyzed, 10 were found to have sugars contributing to more than 5% of total energy intake. ii All infant formulae packages had carbohydrates levels mentioned on the labels, but very few mentioned details about the added sugar content. Conclusions: Many infant formulae products consumed by infants and young children in the UAE were found to contain sugars that exceed the standard recommended intake. Tighter regulations that monitor the amount of sugar in infant formulae are needed. Guidelines for a comprehensive labelling system that accurately discloses the sugar levels are required to reduce adverse health problems secondary to excess sugar consumption in early childhood.