Sugar reduction in products targeted at children: Why are we not there yet?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Sugar intake among children has raised concern worldwide as it exceeds nutritional recommendations. Sugar contributes to the daily energy intake, without providing additional nutritional value and is associated with several negative health outcomes. Sugars added to foods during industrial processing have been identified as the main source of sugar in children's diets. The present work critically discusses the role of the food industry in contributing to children's excessive sugar intake worldwide, and the strategies that have been encouraged or implemented to reduce the sugar content in products targeted at children. The risk of the current sugar reduction practices in products targeted at children is discussed based on recent scientific evidence. Children's heightened preference for sweetness may not justify the availability of highly sugary products for children. Although research suggests that children readily accept less sweet products, there is still some wariness in the food industry to reduce sweetness intensity. This has strengthened the use of non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS), focusing on maintaining the sweetness level. However, emerging evidence suggests that this may not be the best approach.