Nutritionist uncovers hidden sugar in popular kids' snack
Shahna Sarpi warns parents about the nasties lurking in ‘healthy’ snacks and offers simple guidelines for choosing wholesome alternatives.
Busy parents who don’t have time to study food labels are often shocked to find that the snacks they’re feeding their children aren’t as healthy as they thought. Project Nourish and 28 by Sam Wood nutritionist Shahna Sarpi has made it her mission to help parents see through the marketing claims on children’s snack foods.
“My approach to nutrition is simple: eat real food the way nature intended,” says Shahna. “When you buy packaged foods, ignore the claims on the packet and skip the nutrition information panel which can be confusing. Go straight to the ingredients list and choose products that are made up of real ingredients you recognise. If the ingredients sound like they belong in a lab, you shouldn’t be eating them.”
When Shahna compared two similar children’s snacks, she was shocked to discover how much hidden sugar was lurking in one of them. “Rafferty’s Strawberry Yoghurt Buttons seem like a great choice because the label says they’re made from 97 percent yoghurt and fruit,” says Shana. “But I found they have a huge amount of sugar – 62.3 percent! If you look at the ingredients list, sugar is the second ingredient in the yoghurt.”
Shahna also points out that the Strawberry Yoghurt Buttons include questionable ingredients such as maltodextrin and natural flavour. “Natural flavours may have started from a natural source, but they’ve been highly refined,” she explains. “I recommend avoiding them.”
Parents who want to limit nasties in their children’s diets should consider Whole Kids Smoothie Drops instead. “I love that they only have three wholesome ingredients – organic coconut milk, banana and strawberry – as well as an organic prebiotic that’s great for gut health,” says Shahna. “The sugar content is only 18.3 percent and it’s naturally occurring from the banana and strawberry, so it won’t cause a spike in blood sugar.”
The bottom line is that Whole Kids Smoothie Drops contain ingredients the average parent could have at home. “That should be parents’ number one rule when picking snacks for their kids,” says Shahna. “We should always aim to give children real foods.”
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