The study of 186 food products specifically marketed for babies and toddlers found 53 percent of them had excessive amounts -- more than 20 percent -- of their calories coming from sugar, a University of Calgary release said Monday.
Established guidelines suggest foods are of poor nutritional quality if more than 20 percent of their calories are derived from sugars, the release said.
The study looked at the expanding category of "toddler" foods such as fruit snacks, cereal bars, desserts and cookies, and baby food products outside of simple purees of fruits and vegetables.
Forty percent of the products examined listed sugar, or variants like corn syrup or cane syrup, in the first four ingredients on the label, the study found.
"This draws attention to the, perhaps obvious, need to carefully examine the ingredient list," University of Calgary Professor Charlene Elliott said. "While some products derive their sugar content from naturally occurring fruit sugars, many products also contain added sugars. It remains fair to ask why it is necessary to add sugar to these baby or toddler products in the first place."