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HomeGeneralNestle’s Sugar Scandal Sends Troubling Message to Colored Parents

Nestle’s Sugar Scandal Sends Troubling Message to Colored Parents

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A picture of a mother breastfeeding her baby
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A controversy with international impact involving Nestlé occurred in 1977. The “Baby Killer” exposé revealed Nestlé’s role in causing newborn deaths in underdeveloped nations.

Their aggressive formula milk marketing, which included dressing salespeople in nursing uniforms, had disastrous results. Global indignation followed, sparking an international boycott. 

In 2024, the sugar issue presents Nestlé with yet another dilemma. A recent Public Eye study found that the Swiss multinational business adds sugar to products in underdeveloped nations but not items sold in the Western Hemisphere. Parents who identify as black or brown find this disparity especially concerning.

According to the research, sugar was present in 94% of Nestlé’s Cerelac products in its three largest markets — Latin America, Asia, and Africa. In the Philippines, the wheat-based cereal intended for babies six months and older was found to have 7.3g of sugar per piece. It was 6.8g in Nigeria and 5.9g in Senegal. The same product in Germany and the UK has no added sugar.

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Similarly, the study discovered that 72% of the powdered milk product called Nido, marketed to one-year-olds, had added sugar when offered in low- and middle-income regions. This covers nations like Mexico (1.8g per part), Panama (5.3g per portion), and Nicaragua (4.7g per portion).

According to the University of California’s Susana Ramírez, it’s not essential to add sugar to meals for infants and young children nutritionally. Associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Georgia, Sina Gallo concurs.

Eating meals high in added sugars will cause you to replace calories from nutrient-dense foods. Due to their small stomach capacity and rapid growth, infants require a lot of nutrients for their development. Ingesting partially added sugar with little nutritional value will impact their growth and development.

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Also, sugar aggravates tooth cavities and obesity, among other harmful health effects. What’s even more worrisome is that sugar has a strong addictive quality that shapes tastes for sweetened meals for life. Nestlé may unintentionally be putting kids on a lifetime sugar dependency path by placing sugar in baby items.

Because of this, the most recent US dietary guidelines recommend no added sugar for children under two. Children two years and older should consume less than 25 grams of added sugar daily per pediatric standards.

ALSO READ: 5 Tips On How to Maximize Your Chances of Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

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The predominantly white populations send a disturbing message through their striking contrast with mainly black and brown populations. It suggests that various areas prioritize children’s health and well-being. The acts of Nestlé maintain and amplify health inequities and existing inequalities.

As parents, it is our responsibility to hold companies accountable and transparent. Regardless of origin or region, our children should have equal access to wholesome, pure meals. We should view the Nestlé sugar incident as a wake-up call, a warning that structural injustices still exist, and take action to continue pushing for reform.

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