Dietary deficiency in baby weaning foods found in the UK? Researchers have pointed out that the baby foods available in the UK are not up to the mark as they have been found falling short of the recommended ideal dietary needs for the infants.

The research study

The research team from Glasgow checked out nearly 479 leading baby food brand samples available in shops but they were not ideal for dealing with the dietary weaning needs of the infants, said the team. They found out that the home-made preparations were better as the baby foods off the shelves had fewer nutrients.

The foods available had just about the same amount of dietary benefits as the breast milk they were supposed to be replacing. But at this stage the child needs more! The researchers also feared that the added additives and the sweetened taste of the ready made baby foods may prompt the kids to make unhealthy choices of food later on.

Dr Charlotte Wright, the lead researcher of the study, states, “It’s processed food that’s been put in a jar so it’s not that surprising that it does not match up with home-cooked foods”.

The research findings

During research they discovered that majority of the baby foods could be eaten from sachets and jars and were termed as “spoonable” and almost half of baby foods were sweet.

Right from birth the babies show a strong predilection towards sweetened foods and this is a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the commercial product manufacturers and they add sweet ingredients to their “jar preparations”, feel Dr Charlotte Wright and her colleagues in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

There were no added sugars in the foods rather they showed the presence of fruit sugars but according to the guidelines specified for weaning products sweet foods are generally a “no-no” and as the experts insist that to have good habits they are to be taken “occasionally or not at all” as “Sugar can encourage a sweet tooth and lead to tooth decay.”

Weaning foods v/s breast milk

The main purpose of weaning a child off breast milk and steering the infant towards other foods is to get the child to be familiar with different flavors, textures and tastes of other foods and thus improve the basic diet and ingestion of essential nutrients necessary for the growing baby.
The child needs to be exclusively fed on breast milk for the first six months and then weaning needs to be started but then why are weaning foods in UK available for babies fourth month onwards?

Except for the iron content in the spoonable commercial foods, they surely lack in the field of other nutrients. The research points out that the infants will have to consume two times the amount of commercial foods to intake the ideal nutrient content.

Research advice

The final call by the researchers makes us think for a while “People might think that something sweetened with fruit is healthier, but it’s not. Young babies like sweet food because it tastes like breast milk but it is not moving them on,” say the experts.

Elizabeth Duff, of the National Childbirth Trust, urged the parents to recognize the hidden facts and stated “Many parents find that jars of baby food can be quick and convenient when you are out and about, but this new research shows that parents are potentially being misled about the health benefits.

“It is time baby food manufacturers stopped confusing parents by labeling their products as suitable from four months.”

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