Sugar content in infant formula: Accuracy of labeling and conformity to guidelines.
Al Halabi, Manal
Mohamed Abdo, Mohamed
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Background: Infant formulae are a primary source of nutrition during the first years of life, to which sugars are frequently added. This may contribute to adverse dental health problems if consumed excessively when coupled with prolonged and nocturnal feeding habits. Aim: To assess the amount and type of dietary sugars in commercially available infant formulae in the UAE. Design: Sucrose, glucose, and fructose were measured in 71 different brands of commercially available infant formulae for retail sale in the UAE. Analysis was performed using high-performance liquid chromatography with refractive index detection. Sugar values were compared with the reported levels on the nutritional labels. A comparison between findings, product labels, and international standards for infant formulae was performed. Results: Of the 71 samples, 23 had detectable sugar levels, varying between sucrose, glucose, and fructose. Ten samples were found to have sugars contributing to more than 5% of total energy intake ranging between 5.68% and 27.06%. All infant formula packages had carbohydrate levels mentioned on the labels, but very few mentioned the added sugar content. Conclusions: Many infant formula products tested contained sugars that exceeded the standard recommended intake. Tighter regulations that monitor the amount of sugar in infant formulae and guidelines for comprehensive labeling systems are required.