Growing Up Milk – Do You Really Need The Extra Sugar?

June 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm

After realizing the sugar content in the girls’ growing up milk, I was really looking into switching the girls’ milk.

I started doing research on the web.

There is a lot of information on the web about sugars in children’s growing up milk from various milk companies. Most have stated their reasons on why sugars are added. I.e.
1) Children need carbo because carbo generates energy which is required for their rapid growth
2) Sugar is added for taste and what’s added by milk companies is compliance with Malaysia’s Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) and World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation
3) Added sugars are from natural plant sugars
4) High lactose is not well tolerated by Malaysian children, therefore natural sugar is added instead of lactose

However, these are my thoughts :
1) Sugars are sugars, natural plant sugar, natural sugar, they are basically the same. If I want the girls to have natural plant sugar, I would give them watermelon (a fruit which has the highest natural sugar) for example, and not what is added to their milk for whatever reasons. And to be honest, I won’t give them watermelon every day, because of its sugar content, so why would I want to feed my children milk added with sugar every day, three times a day?

2) I don’t want the girls to develop a sweet tooth. I’d tried a few brands of growing up milk, IT IS very sweet, overly sweet for my liking.

3) I read on the net and also was told by a dietician, and got this – Under Malaysian food labelling regulations, the ‘carbohydrate per serve’ number in the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) on growing up milk is only made up of two things:
a. Lactose which is sugar naturally present in the milk. The natural lactose level in a glass of standard milk is approximately 9g-13g per serve (200ml).
b. Sugars that are added to the milk powder. Anything higher than 9g-13g for ‘carbohydrate per serve’ in growing up milk is equal to added sugars

So as parents, we have to make informed decision about getting what growing up milk for the kids.
1) Check your child’s growing up milk powder pack/tin – look only at 2 things.
a. The ingredient list – corn syrup solids, sucrose, glucose syrup solids, these are all added sugars.
b. The carbohydrate per serve in the NPI – remember, anything above 11g-12g per serve (the lactose present in milk) is added sugars

2) Taste the milk. I do that often when I want to introduce a new brand to my girls. If I find it too sweet or too artificial tasting (some milk tastes like plastic!), I won’t consider.

3) Talk to people (other parents, your paed etc), do your own research and find out more.

For now, while still hunting for the right milk, Zara, being almost 7, has stopped drinking growing up milk but is on fresh milk now; as for Zaria, because she’s still not 5, she’s still taking her growing up milk. As fresh milk lacks the added nutrient, we are supplementing Zara with multivits.

Once we’d found the right growing up milk, both girls will be switched to that.

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