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Research Project: USDA National Nutrient Databank for Food Composition

Location: Nutrient Data Laboratory

Title: Sodium, Sugar and Fat Content of Complimentary Infant and Toddler Foods Sold in the United States, 2015

Author
item Maalouf, Joyce
item Pehrsson, Pamela
item Cogswell, Mary
item Bates, Marlana
item Yuan, Keming
item Scanlon, Kelley
item Gunn, Janelle
item Merritt, Robert

Submitted to: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2017
Publication Date: 4/19/2017
Citation: Maalouf, J., Pehrsson, P.R., Cogswell, M.E., Bates, M., Yuan, K., Scanlon, K.S., Gunn, J.P., Merritt, R.K. 2017. Sodium, sugar and fat content of complimentary infant and toddler foods sold in the United States, 2015. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. doi:10.3945/ajcn.116.142653.

Interpretive Summary: In 2012, 72% of commercial toddler meals contained >210 mg/serving of sodium and >70% of infant and toddler snacks, desserts, and juice drinks contained one or more added sugars. The objective is to update the sodium, sugar and fat values of commercial infant and toddler foods sold in the U.S. in 2015. Major brands of infant and toddler food products were identified. Nutrition information was collected from manufacturer websites and grocery stores from May-July 2015. A total of 1,037 food products were categorized according to main ingredients, target eater and serving sizes (standardized to FDA Reference Amount Customarily Consumed). Mean sodium, sugar and saturated fat content was computed per serving, per 100g, and in relation to calories. Sodium content was defined based on serving, CODEX standards and FDA targets. Presence of added sugar and industrially produced trans fat was determined from the ingredients list. Results showed in 2015, almost all infant foods were low in sodium. The mean sodium content per 100 g in toddler meals met the FDA target means, while sodium in savory snacks exceeded the target means. Eighty-one percent of toddler meals exceeded 210 mg sodium/serving while 5% were >200 mg/100 g. Few infant foods contained added sugars except 44% of pureed fruits and 27% of mixed grains with fruits. More than 70% of toddler’s meals, cereal bars/breakfast pastries, infant/toddler desserts and dairy products contained added sugar. Mean percent of calories from saturated fat ranged from 0% in all infant foods to 7.7% in toddler meals. None of the products contained industrially produced trans fat. In 2015, average sodium content of commercial toddler meals was about 20% lower than in 2012, with the majority meeting the CODEX and FDA targets, but still above 210 mg per serving. Commercial toddler meals, infant mixed grain with fruits and infant or toddler cereal bars/breakfast pastries and desserts remain high in added sugars.

Technical Abstract: In 2012, 72% of commercial toddler meals contained >210 mg/serving of sodium and >70% of infant and toddler snacks, desserts, and juice drinks contained one or more added sugars. The objective is to update the sodium, sugar and fat values of commercial infant and toddler foods sold in the U.S. in 2015. Major brands of infant and toddler food products were identified. Nutrition information was collected from manufacturer websites and grocery stores from May-July 2015. A total of 1,037 food products were categorized according to main ingredients, target eater and serving sizes (standardized to FDA Reference Amount Customarily Consumed). Mean sodium, sugar and saturated fat content was computed per serving, per 100g, and in relation to calories. Sodium content was defined based on serving, CODEX standards and FDA targets. Presence of added sugar and industrially produced trans fat was determined from the ingredients list. Results showed in 2015, almost all infant foods were low in sodium. The mean sodium content per 100 g in toddler meals met the FDA target means, while sodium in savory snacks exceeded the target means. Eighty-one percent of toddler meals exceeded 210 mg sodium/serving while 5% were >200 mg/100 g. Few infant foods contained added sugars except 44% of pureed fruits and 27% of mixed grains with fruits. More than 70% of toddler’s meals, cereal bars/breakfast pastries, infant/toddler desserts and dairy products contained added sugar. Mean percent of calories from saturated fat ranged from 0% in all infant foods to 7.7% in toddler meals. None of the products contained industrially produced trans fat. In 2015, average sodium content of commercial toddler meals was about 20% lower than in 2012, with the majority meeting the CODEX and FDA targets, but still above 210 mg per serving. Commercial toddler meals, infant mixed grain with fruits and infant or toddler cereal bars/breakfast pastries and desserts remain high in added sugars.