Bibliographic review: hidden sugars in children’s drinks

According to one study, of the 203 drinks offered to children in the United Kingdom, 140 were considered “unfit” due to their excessive added sugar content.

Boulton J, Hashem KM, Jenner KH, et al. “How much sugar is hidden in drinks marketed to children? A survey of fruit juices, juice drinks and smoothies”. BMJ Open 2016;6:e010330.

This publication analyzed the added sugar content of 203 drinks marketed to children in the United Kingdom – these included fruit juices (21), flavored drinks (158) and smoothies (24). The authors from the University of Liverpool quantified the amount of sugars added by the manufacturer (those that do not belong to the fruit concerned) per 100 ml and for each standard 200 ml serving of this type of drink present in the seven largest British supermarkets. Sports drinks, soft drinks, tea-soft drinks and other refreshing energy drinks that are not offered particularly to children were excluded from this study. The amount of added sugar ranged between 0 and 16g / 100ml, with an average of 7g / 100ml. The fruit juices contained 10.7g / 100ml, the smoothies 13g / 100ml and the flavored drinks 5.6g / 100ml. Of the 203 products, only 63 were “fit” in terms of sugar content as determined by the food agency in question and 85 of them contained the recommended daily allowance for children’s sugar intake (19g or 5 teaspoons) in a single container. The authors concluded that the amount of added sugars in bottled beverages offered to children in the United Kingdom is unacceptable and recommend drinking fresh fruit juice or natural juice diluted with water without exceeding 150ml each day.

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