Foods marketed primarily to children have fewer nutrients and higher sugar content, according to a recent study done by the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa.

“Unhealthy products with powerful child-appealing marketing displayed on package are prevalent in the food supply. Implementing marketing restrictions that protect children should be a priority,” the research article published on Plos One concluded.

Food companies expect that if children get attached to the food marketed directly to them, then their enjoyment for the highly processed foods will carry over into adulthood, experts note.

Dr. Maya Adam, director of health media innovation and a clinical associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Stanford School of Medicine, who was not a part of the study, referred to this as “brand-loyal adults.”

She told CNN, “As adults, around the world, we take extra precautions when it comes to our children. We buckle them into car seats, make sure they wear helmets. When it comes to packaged foods, the food industry is doing the opposite: actually promoting less healthy foods to the most vulnerable members of society.”

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Researchers in the study examined over 6,000 food products that are connected to kid diets. What they found is that 13% of the foods they researched was deemed to employ “child-appealing” marketing strategies.

“The foods that were evaluated to be the most appealing to children were higher in sugar — with an average of 14.7 grams versus 9 grams — compared to standard packaging,” per Medical News Today.

Of the worst foods examined, cereal and toaster pastries took the cake for having more than 50% marketing appeal aimed at children.

Lead study author Dr. Christine Mulligan said that government regulations need to be put in place to protect children by reducing the marketing of such unhealthy foods.

According to CNN, “These policies need to be strong and comprehensive so that they effectively protect children from these harmful marketing practices in all the places that kids live, eat and play,” Mulligan said. “This can also be a great opportunity to get children involved in family grocery shopping and help them learn about how to choose, make and eat healthy, delicious foods.”