Health experts concerned by high levels of sugar in children's yoghurts

·2-min read

U.K. researchers are very concerned by the high levels of sugar in many children's yoghurt products.

Officials at Action on Sugar claim parents are being misled by positive health claims, with only five per cent of yoghurts aimed at children containing "healthy" sugar levels, as determined by the Department of Health.

Over 60 per cent of all 100 yoghurts surveyed from the country's major supermarkets provide more than a third of a four-year-old's maximum daily intake for added sugars per serving.

Nestlé Rolo Mix-in Toffee Yoghurt contains five and a half teaspoons of sugar per 22g serving - as much sugar as 16 Malted Milk Biscuits from Sainsbury's, researchers found.

Yoghurts containing added sugar or sweet syrups were often marketed with claims about calcium content or high protein levels, which distorted opinions and distracted from high unnatural sugar levels in these products.

Researchers from Action on Sugar want a ban on child friendly packaging, featuring cartoon animations, recognisable characters, and brightly coloured designs.

The action group also wants misleading nutritional claims on yoghurts banned if they also contain a high amount of sugar content.

Registered nutritionist and campaign lead, Dr Kawther Hashem, said: "Parents can easily be misled when walking through the yoghurt aisle in the supermarket. Often companies try to avert our eyes from seeing the significant amount of sugar listed in the ingredients and nutrition tables, by using healthy sounding claims and cartoony images on the front of pack."

She added: "Food companies must make every effort to reduce the sugar in these products, particularly the ones targeted so explicitly towards children."

Yoghurts with the lowest sugar content included Nush almond milk strawberry tubes, the Coconut Collaborative mango and passionfruit yoghurt, and Yoplait Petits Filous strawberry and banana yoghurt.

In response to the findings, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told The Guardian: "Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health challenges that this country is facing and we are taking significant action to drive the food and drink industry to reduce sugar content."

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