Pediatric Research (1998) 44, 418–418; doi:10.1203/00006450-199809000-00029

Longitudinal Study of Sugar Intake in Infancy

Donna Buckley1, Pat Ziegler1, Mona Ho1, Gemma Uetrecht1 and Bonny Specker1

1Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD (Spon by: Bonny Specker)

Presented in: Poster Session Sunday, May 3, 1998, Poster number 145


Sugar intake in infancy in early childhood is an area of investigation with surprisingly few studies, with most of the research done in adults. The aim of this study was to determine whether early vs. late introduction of solid foods and commercially prepared (CP) vs. parents choice (PC) of solid foods affects sugar intake. Based on adult data, we hypothesized that children with high sugar intakes will compensate their total calorie intake with lower fat; high sugar will be weakly correlated with high lean mass, and a high early sugar intake will result in a high intake later. Term infants (n=175) were recruited prior to 3 mo and randomly assigned to receive: 1) CP from 3-12 mo 2) CP from 6-12 mo 3) PC from 3-12 mo or 4) PC from 6-12 mo. Body composition, anthropometrics and 3-d diet records (Univ of Mn Nutrient Database) were completed at 3, 6, 12 and 24 mo. At 12 mo, total sugar intake was greater in late vs. early group when adjusted for weight(84.0 + 2.5g vs. 75.7 + 2.4g, p=0.02), but this effect did not persist to 24 mo. There was no difference in total sugar intake between CP and PC at either 12 or 24 mo (both p≥.05). At 12 and 24 mo, total sugar intake was correlated with total fat intake (both p≥.001) even when adjusted for weight. Total sugar intake at 12 and 24 mo was correlated with lean mass(p=.9 and p=.06). Additionally, 24 mo sugar intake/kg was positively correlated with total sugar intake/kg at 12 mo, p≥.001. Unlike adult data that shows a calorie compensation effect (an inverse relationship between consumption of calories from sugar and fat) the 12 and 24 mo data show positive correlations between high sugar and high fat intake. In addition, there was no correlation between sugar intake and lean mass at 12 or 24 mo. High sugar intake/kg at 12 mo is positively correlated with high sugar intake/kg at 24 mo suggesting a developing pattern of sweet preference. Infants developing a sweet preference may “pattern” their eating habits for later in the toddler years for sugar and fat intake.

Funded in part by Gerber Products Company.

Poster Session filled diamond Poster Symposium · Platform Session