Mains Practice Question


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 Recent controversies on adding unhealthy amounts of sugar to baby products should lead to tightening rules and plugging regulatory gaps in the food market. Discuss.


A Simple Introduction about Added sugars

Added sugars are sugars and syrups incorporated into foods and beverages during processing or preparation. Unlike naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy, added sugars provide additional sweetness but often without nutritional benefits. Common sources of added sugars include soft drinks, candy, baked goods, and cereals.


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Concerns about Added Sugars in Infant Products

Recent reports highlight a concerning trend where Nestle baby products sold in Asia, Africa, and Latin America contain added sugars, whereas those in Europe do not.

While sugar is generally not recommended for infants, guidelines in many developing countries do not explicitly prohibit its use in baby products.

Health Risks Associated with Added Sugars

  • The first two years of life are crucial for a child's growth and development. Breastfed infants naturally consume sugar from lactose in their mother's milk.
  • Studies indicate that children fed a sugar-heavy diet are at higher risk of developing obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and tooth decay compared to those with balanced diets.
  • India has the highest number of childhood diabetes cases globally. A Lancet study reported over 12 million overweight children aged five to 19 in India.
  • According to the American Heart Association (AHA), natural sugars are found in milk (lactose) and fruit (fructose), while added sugars are chemically manufactured or separately added during food processing.
  • Despite World Health Organization guidelines discouraging added sugars in baby foods, some countries permit their inclusion in infant products.
  • Global Trends and Concerns

As incomes increase and global food brands proliferate, low and middle-income countries face growing exposure to free sugars, increasing the risk of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and obesity.

A UNICEF-supported study revealed that nearly half of infant cereals, snacks, and ready-to-eat meals marketed in Southeast Asia contain added sugars and sweeteners.


The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.


The prevalence of added sugars in infant products poses significant health risks to children, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Regulatory authorities, food manufacturers, and healthcare professionals must work together to ensure that infant foods adhere to strict guidelines, prioritizing the health and well-being of young children globally.


Other Points to Consider 

Examples of added sugars

Difference between natural sugar and added sugar?


Previous Year Questions
1. Elaborate the scope and significance of the food processing industry in India. (2022)
2. What are the impediments in marketing and supply chain management in developing the food processing industry in India? Can e-commerce help in overcoming these bottlenecks? (2015)


21-May 2024