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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Carb-Heavy Baby Food Leading To Obesity?


Is there something about baby food that is making infants fat?

As I was reading this Cincinatti Post story about three of the world's largest health advocacy groups--World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics--putting out a warning call regarding rising obesity rates among babies, it reminded me of a recent e-mail I got from one of my readers that may help shed some light on why this is happening.

The e-mailer told me she hasn't heard anyone deal with this topic and it seems all too obvious to her now as someone who has been livin' la vida low-carb for a while now. It has to do with what we are feeding our babies. That's right, we're gonna talk about baby food today and how something about it may be contributing to the rise in childhood obesity rates.

My reader wrote this regarding baby food and formula:

"One of the first ingredients in almost every baby formula is corn syrup in some shape or form. It seems like everyone has been baffled about why bottle-fed babies are more likely to be overweight later in life and have diabetes, and the connection is so obvious to me now. It just screams for the world to know. Well, duh! We are addicting our bottle-fed babies to corn syrup long before they can make any choices. How rotten is that! I did it without even knowing it, as 99% of the population probably does as well."

Have you ever thought about this before? I don't have any kids yet, so this didn't immediately pop into my head. But it really does make sense when you stop to think about it.

Have you ever REALLY read those nutritional labels on the baby food and formula you are giving to your child? Or do you just trust companies like Gerber are giving your baby exactly what is needed to be healthy and strong?

The unfortunate thing is people who buy baby food in those distinctive jars may be depriving their little one of the essential nutrients he or she needs to grow up to be a strong kid and healthy adult. I'm no expert on this subject, but it seems the children who are breast-fed by their mothers tend to be less likely to become obese because they are not exposed to the carb-heavy baby food that is on our shelves today.

Don't believe me that today's baby food is unhealthy for your child? Just take a look at the macronutrient ratio on that jar the next time you go to the grocery store. What you will find is a TON of carbohydrates and very little protein and fat. It is not uncommon for the carb/protein/fat ratio to be around 85/10/5 or even worse. EEEEK!!! GO SEE FOR YOURSELF! It really will open your eyes. 8-O

Even worse is the ingredients list which contains so much corn syrup as my reader wisely noted in her e-mail to me. All of that sugar and the obvious lack of protein and fat which is sorely needed to help growing babies develop properly is one of the reasons why I think we have seen obesity among children and even babies become so bad.

Food companies have been steadily sneaking in sugar and its evil twin high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) into the vast majority of foods we eat for a long time now and it's starting to catch up to us with rising obesity and health problems. Even worse is the facade that feeding babies foods such as rice, fruit, veggies, etc. is healthy. IT IS NOT! Most of these foods are jam-packed with so many carbohydrates it makes those poor little babies start becoming addicted to carbohydrates long before they can even talk.

Additionally, the lack of protein and fat in these baby foods don't allow the baby to develop as well as he or she should because they aren't getting the essential building blocks that come from these macronutrients responsible for healthy brain function, strong bones, and muscle growth, too! And whatever you do, DON'T neglect the role of saturated fat in a baby's development because it plays a vital role in their brain health as well. And where are the omega-3s and omega-6s? Hmmm?

Essentially what you are doing if you are feeding your baby out of a jar is putting him or her on a low-fat, low-calorie diet that is sugar and carbohydrate-heavy--a far cry from the excellent nutrition provided by the mother's breast milk.

That's some food for thought to chew on today, especially if you have the thrill of a baby in your household or will soon be hearing the sweet sound of pitter-patter in your household. Enjoy that precious gift that God has given to you, but be aware that the food companies don't care if they are addicting your kids to sugar. They just don't as long as they are making a buck. Sadly, it's the same philosophy they take with adult food, too!

You have been fairly warned now.

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17 Comments:

Blogger Science4u1959 said...

This, indeed, is at the root cause of the current obesity epidemic, and it's horrid slew of associated illnesses and abnormalities. Especially the mother should be properly nourished - even from several months before conception and onwards. Remember that breastmilk, the most perfect nutrition imaginable for a child, consists of mainly fat, and highly saturated fat at that.

After birth, mother's milk is largely fat: up to between 60% and 80% fat. The quality of mother's milk is highly dependant on the quality of nutrition the mother receives - from conception onwards until the child can be waned. Several ancient tribes would adjust their dietary habits several months before conception so as to prepare both parents for children. After giving birth, the mother would continue to receive a special high-fat diet especially geared towards proper nutrition for both the mother and the breastfed child.

Again, in all our magnificent stupidity, today we are stubbornly doing the exact wrong things. Formula, especially soy-based formula (the majority) is nothing else than cheap-to-produce, highly unbalanced and nutritionally deficient junk.

I guess that's what we call "progress" in these "modern" times...

9/03/2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

As a baby I had a problem spitting up most of what I ate. Mom just couldn't produce enough milk when I spat most of it back up. Therefore I was put on the bottle fairly early.

9/03/2006 11:33 PM  
Blogger mom4a2g said...

I am breastfeeding my 7th baby who is 14 months old. I can't imagine feeding my babies the junk that they sell as babyfood. And we wonder why the rate of Type II diabetes is rising in children. One other issue that I wish would get studied (or if it has, would get more press) is the content of fat in breastmilk as opposed to formula. Fat is brain food. Without a sufficient amount of fat in their diet, babies brains do not develop properly. I wonder: is their any correlation between a formula diet and later learning disabilities?

9/04/2006 2:29 AM  
Blogger LindaLCforLife said...

30 years ago Adelle Davis warned about the junky formulas and sugar and starch filled baby foods. She also warned about how what you eat before conception and during pregnancy has a major impact on the growing fetus, effecting bone structure, future growth, health and intelligence. The stupid, erroneous mode of thinking by the medical profession in the 70s was that a pregnant woman should gain little or no weight during pregnancy. Back then you were treated like a freak if you breastfed your babies and started them on solid food at 4 to 6 months. Even while in the hospital with my two oldest children, now ages 31 and 32, I endured the stares and discouraging comments from the ignoramus medical staff when I attempted to breastfeed my babies. Being young, I gave up with my firstborn after a few days, which I deeply regret. It still makes me angry when I think about it now. However with my 2nd child and the rest, I fared better. It's encouraging to see the medical profession has finally come around to seeing the importance of breastfeeding and introducing solid foods later, but sad to see that nothing has changed when it comes to commercial baby formulas and foods after all these years. Growth and development is greatest during the first year and proper nutrition is more crucial than ever.

9/04/2006 2:40 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Mom4a2g asked: is their any correlation between a formula diet and later learning disabilities? Absolutely! There's not just a correlation, there's a "hard link". As Linda pointed out, and very well I might add, growth and development is greatest (and most crucial) during the first year.

Did you know that several lawsuits have been fought (and won) over formula? For example, it turned out that petfood often has more stringent quality control than babyfood. A while ago a company called Syntex, a producer of (of course, soy-based) babyfood went out of business because several plaintiffs proved that their babyfood was deficient of chlorides: in this case sodium chloride. As a result, the affected children did not achieve their full intellectual potential. Chloride is essential for development of the brain. At no time is quality control more important than during infancy, when the body is built, the endocrine system activated, and the brain and nervous system being formed. Yet our medical system assures us that the diet of a nursing mother does not affect the quality of her milk, and the formula makers warn us that only they can put a sanitary and scientific formula together for our babies. Most practitioners are horrified at the thought of mothers making formula for their babies, citing the possibility of mistakes and contamination. But any mother who cares enough to make a whole foods baby formula will do so with far more care than the most reputable formula maker. Today’s cost-cutting measures and black market in formula put babies more at risk than ever.

The simple fact is that soy-based formula, in whatever form it may come, is totally unsuited for babies. But not just babyfood, also foods for growing children needs to be well-adjusted to children. It is scientifically proven that total cholesterol is associated with school suspension or expulsion and that low total cholesterol may be a risk factor for aggression or a risk marker for other biologic variables that predispose to aggression in children. This is not unexpected as several studies have shown that low cholesterol levels have deleterious effects on the brain.

Pediatric clinicians noted a number of years ago that children who were put onto lowfat and low-cholesterol diets failed to grow properly. During the critical growing years, children need levels of fat substantially in excess of the levels recommended in the US dietary guidelines. Children need (very) high levels of fat throughout the period of growth and development. Milk and animal fats give energy and also help children build muscle and bone. In addition, the animal fats provide vitamins A and D necessary for protein and mineral assimilation. Also, children are far more susceptible to infectious diseases than most adults. Infants who are fed human milk do not usually succumb to viral illnesses because their mothers were providing them with disease-fighting components in their milk. Some of these disease-fighting components in the mother’s milk were special fatty acids that the mammary gland made. These fatty acids are called lauric acid and caproic acid. These disease-fighting fatty acids can be part of older children’s diets if they consume foods that contain coconut or coconut oil, palm kernel oil, or, to a lesser extent, good quality cream and high fat milk. Unfortunately, when parents adhere to the dietary guidelines, these components will be absent in their children’s diets.

The fact is that fat is one of the most valuable foods known to man. Several famous researchers have stated that as well.

If we are to make the world a better place in which to live, we will need a generation of healthy, clear-thinking individuals. This can only be accomplished by quality control in our diets from the very beginning—before conception, during pregnancy, while breastfeeding and in the food choices we make for our children as they mature and grow.

What America (and the Western world as a whole) should be focusing on is quality - quality of diet, that is. It's time for the truth, and the education and awareness that (real) butter still is the number one health food; That high cholesterol foods play a vital role in a healthy diet; the many dangers of modern soy foods; but also we have to re-learn the foods that help babies grow smart and strong - and also why our animal foods should be pasture-fed.

In short, I am talking about the old-fashioned foods that give limitless energy and vibrant health. We need to go back to our roots: a basically controlled- or low-carb diet, high in nutrients rich in vitamins and minerals from fresh produce and meats, and high in fat and certainly with sufficient intake of cholesterol!

9/05/2006 7:15 AM  
Blogger Lady_arcadia said...

After reading this blog I immediately pulled every baby food, cereal and "puffs" I have for my 10-month old and looked at the ingredients.

NONE of them have corn syrup listed anywhere in the ingredients.

In fact, on your picture you have Gerber Strawberry Banana as a picture. The ingredients listed in that are: FULLY RIPENED BANANAS, STRAWBERRIES, APPLE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE, CITRIC ACID, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C) AND RED CABBAGE EXTRACT COLOR.

Gerber Peas:
Peas, water

Gerber Apples and Cherries:
Apples and Cherries

No corn syrup. You have many people reading this blog and it's your responsibility to post information that is factual. Instead you're being very irresponsible by posting scare tactics and mistruths.

The baby obesity epidemic is not linked to baby food. It's linked to FORMULA. Breastmilk is the absolute perfect food for babies with the perfect amount of calories and fat. Formula is filled with lactose (horrible for people) and numerous other ingredients I can't even pronounce!

I encourage your readers to look up the ingredients in baby food. You'll find it is what it says it is.

This blog should be more accurate and talk about the ingredients and risks of formula, not putting ingredients in baby food that aren't there.

9/05/2006 10:25 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey Lady Arcadia,

THANKS for commenting and I'm sorry if you feel I am not being accurate with what I wrote in my blog about baby food ingredients.

However, every single one of them contains "high fructose corn syrup" or some other sugar-based product in them which is decidedly unhealthy.

Additionally, the lack of fat and protein, another major point that I made in the article, while being loaded with unnecessary carbohydrates is very apparent to anyone who looks at the nutritional info in baby food.

THANK YOU again for your comments, but I stand by what I wrote! :)

9/05/2006 11:15 AM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

Jimmy, are you saying that the mfgs are putting in HFCS without saying so? I feed a lot of my family and friends' babies, and I know that labels don't list any sugars of any kind.

If you have a list of mfgs that are adding sugars in small enough amounts that they can get away with not labeling them, we would sure like to know.

9/05/2006 3:42 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for the question, LCforevah. I think if you look at the baby formula that you will see lots of HFCS. Baby food is extremely high-carb with little to no fat or protein. That's NOT a good ratio for babies to be eating a healthy diet.

9/05/2006 3:46 PM  
Blogger LindaLCforLife said...

The last time I bought baby food in jars was 16 years ago, so haven't looked at it recently, but there was some available then that didn't contain the added sugar and starch, it was just vegetables or fruit, but you have to admit that most of what is on the shelf is mainly high carb and does contain sugar in the form of corn syrup and white refined flour.

Whenever I could, I made my own. I had a baby food grinder so I could just grind up whatever meat we were having for dinner, along with some vegetables. It takes seconds to cook an egg yolk in the microwave. In addition to the high sugar crappy formula a lot of babies get stuffed with high sugar fruits, high starch vegetables, cereals, cookies, juices and crackers; so even if they are being breastfed or given a quality formula, that takes away their appetite for it. It also causes them to develop a taste for sugary, high carb food, and to develop a protein/fat deficiency, leading to obesity. Bananas, strawberries, cherries and peas may seem like healthy food, but for a baby that is a lot of carbs. Bananas are mostly water and sugar. It's better to feed a baby breast milk or a high quality formula before giving them solid food until they are older.

9/05/2006 5:26 PM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

Okay, I didn't clarify that I was talking about jars of baby food and not infant formula. I will have to stop at the market and see what formula labels say.

science,
I remember reading somewhere a comparison of cow's milk to human milk. Human milk has some carbs, but is much higher in fat than cow's milk, and cow's milk is much higher in carbs. That makes sense since the calf would need to start fattening up as soon as possible. Which is not what parents want for their infants!

9/05/2006 5:27 PM  
Blogger Lady_arcadia said...

"However, every single one of them contains "high fructose corn syrup" or some other sugar-based product in them which is decidedly unhealthy."

Jimmy,

This is simply not true. Visit Simon Delivers online and look up all of the baby food. They list the labels. Although I would agree it's not the healthiest food "Every one of them" does not contain HFCS.

Peaches:
Peaches and ascorbic acid (vitamin C)

Pears:
Pears and ascorbic acid (vitamin C)

Squash:
SQUASH AND WATER

Vegetable Turkey dinner (ew!):
WATER, CARROTS, FINELY GROUND TURKEY, RICE FLOUR, GREEN SPLIT PEAS, CANOLA OIL AND ONION POWDER.

If you're exclusively talking about formula then please change your blog and picture to reflect that.

Enfamil LactoFree LIPIL:
CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, BEGETABLE OIL (PALM OLEIN, SOY, COCONUT, AND HIGH OLEIC SUNFLOWER OILS), MILK PROTEIN ISOLATE AND LESS THAN 2% (and on and on and on)

9/05/2006 8:34 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Good point, Lady Arcadia. Perhaps I should have said MANY instead. My bad...

9/05/2006 9:12 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

lcforevah: you are exactly right. In fact, the USDA dietary guidelines are frightingly similar to the same USDA's dietary guidelines for fattening cattle!

9/07/2006 5:44 AM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

OH. MY. GAH!
science, you're right--the guidelines are very similar!

lady arcadia, how can these companies put corn syrup and soybean oil inside a product meant for the health of the most vulnerable? How can the people behind the corporations look at themselves in mirrors? ...and then, corporations wonder why billions of dollars are spent on alternative medicine and foods--people know they're being sold bad products and go seeking better from other than traditional corporations.

9/07/2006 11:51 AM  
Blogger Sherrie said...

Hmm I have a problem when I see these targetted at infants as they put heaps of pressure on me. I fell pregnant on a low carb diet which I had been on since 2002 and maintaining my goal weight for 1.5 years. During pregnancy I gained 25kgs yet my eating was very similar but more 'healthier' carbs and not much.

She was 9.7 pounds when she was born and is now 16 months and still breastfeeding. I eat plenty of fats, as organic and local as I can and have plenty of milk but she still feeds a lot. But she doesn't eat junk, only other drink is water. She is still not much of a solid eater yet and she is a big baby. More solid looking then round as shes tall but I still get comments to feed her water *shrug*

I wonder if she would be as big if she was on a typical nutrient deficient diet that babies seem to be fed these days?

9/07/2006 6:39 PM  
Blogger Lady_arcadia said...

"lady arcadia, how can these companies put corn syrup and soybean oil inside a product meant for the health of the most vulnerable? "

I don't see corn syrup and soybean oil in baby food, do you? I went to the store yesterday and looked at every jar. Still, I did not see any corn syrup. I still don't know how Jimmy can consciously make the claim that baby food contains corn syrup knowing it isn't true and knowing it can be easily proven false.

The true question is, how can they put it in formula? It's all about the money. Google "Nestle breastfeeding boycott" you'll be shocked at what you read.

I long for the day where mothers go back to only breastfeeding their babies. The truth is, 99% of mothers can breastfeed. The rest are uneducated, misinformed, lack support or just simply make a choice not to.

That baffles me. Why would a mother make a choice to feed their child that crap? ew...

9/08/2006 12:49 PM  

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