Toddler Drinks and Infant Formula Can Have Hidden Sugars

Beware of food claims on toddler beverages and powdered milk formula. Follow these tips to find healthier alternatives.

Toddler Drinks and Infant Formula Can Have Hidden Sugars

Attention parents: Read the nutrition facts and ingredient label of all toddler drinks and infant formula. In a study published in Preventive Medicine, researchers found that most toddler drinks use misleading marketing claims to make parents think they’re healthy. Most beverages have sneaky sources of sweeteners, like high-fructose corn syrup and vegetable oil. And powdered milk drinks contain less protein than regular milk. In fact, the World Health Organization and medical experts have deemed toddler drinks “unnecessary” and “unsuitable” for kids 9 to 36 months.

While there are policies in place that say what can and can’t go on infant formula labels, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate the marketing of drinks to toddlers.

So be sure to read labels carefully and institute your own regulations. When you see a product labeled “toddler formula,” “toddler drink,” or “toddler milk,” skip it. For your toddler’s diet, stick to cow’s milk and water, fresh fruits and veggies and healthy proteins and fats.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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