Sweeteners can be ‘hidden’ in your kids’ food — and parents may not even know

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Parents need to be extra careful when they’re looking at kids’ food labelled “low in sugar,” a new report suggests.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released a report on sweeteners, adding non-nutritive or artificial sweeteners are a part of our diets, and at least one in four children in the U.S. consume these types of sweeteners.

But experts argue there is still not enough research to determine what sweeteners can to do a child’s overall health.

READ MORE: Artificial sweeteners are tied to long-term weight gain, diabetes risk, Canadian docs say

“We need more research into the use of non-nutritive sweeteners and the risk for obesity and Type 2 diabetes, especially in children,” Dr. Carissa Baker-Smith, lead author of the AAP policy statement, said in a statement.

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“Considering how many children are regularly consuming these products — which have become ubiquitous — we should have a better understanding of how they impact children’s long-term health.”

The other issue, authors added, is that parents simply can’t tell if a product has a sweetener. Often, products that use artificial sweeteners may use labels like “low sugar” or even “no sugar” on their packaging, referring to refined white sugar.

What are sweeteners?

Registered dietitian Anar Allidina of Anar Allidina Nutrition tells Global News that sweeteners are food additives used to simulate a sense of sweetness.

“The overuse of sugar in the Western diet has been shown to contribute to excess weight, which can lead to further health risks such as diabetes and heart disease,” she explained.

“In the last few decades, researchers have found and developed new ways to sweeten our food without the actual use of sugar.”

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How much sugar is in your diet?