Hidden sugar found in infant formula – UAE

An infant might be fed with high sugar content without the parent realizing it. High sugar levels are not healthy for children as well as adults. A recent study was done on infant formula milk in the UAE. This was done by the pediatrics of Mohammad Bin Rashid University of Health and Medical Sciences. It revealed that one-third of the infant formulas found in UAE retail shops contain high detectable sugar levels. Moreover, these levels are even higher than the ones found in soda drinks. 

The research was done after an event, where a mother drank her infant’s formula milk. This lady drank the child’s milk when heading to a flight and was not allowed to take the liquid. She was amazed by the extra sweet taste it gave. Therefore, she doubted that it was one of the causes of her child’s cavities. 

In this event, to analyze the sugar content in formula milk. Researchers purchased 71 brands of formula milk from different retail shops in the UAE. They tested the three sugars: glucose, fructose, and sucrose. 

The study was revealed in the International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry. It stated that some sugar was found in about 23 samples. 

Effects of high-sugar content in infant formula

As per the World Health Organization, the sugar content should be around 10% of the person’s energy intake. In addition, if the content is lesser than 5%, there may be additional health benefits. 

As per Dr. Aswad, research at the MBRU shows a prevalence of childhood caries at around 80% in the GCC and 74% in the UAE. 

infant formula care

Such high levels of sugars in infant formula may lead to children’s tooth decay. Moreover, high sugar content can lead to other health issues like obesity and diabetes. 

Sugars are added to formulas, to make the product attractive. With time children develop a preference for the formula. 

The primary source of food intake for infants is breastmilk and formula milk. So, care should be taken to read the labels and assure that your child is getting the right nutrients. 


Infant formula Labels

Nutrition facts show the content inside the product. Surprisingly, the labels on the formula show the carbohydrates content but not the sugar content. 

Even though, if the sugars are mentioned, they are stated with complex names. For example fructooligosaccharides. This may not be recognized by parents.

However, parents should try reading the labels and understand well the content before giving them to their children. Although, such long names are only understandable by chemists and scientists. But, we can search about them or ask a chemist online or a personal doctor for confirmation. In addition to this, parents should take care of the child’s oral hygiene. Make the child brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, preferably before bedtime.