With the convenience of pre-packaged baby foods, many parents often opt for these products thinking they offer a healthy and time-saving solution. However, a closer look at modern baby foods reveals that they may not be as nutritious and beneficial as they seem.
The Guardian recently reported that almost a third of modern baby foods in the UK are ultra-processed. These types of baby foods risk children’s long-term health and development. Similar situations surrounding baby foods can be found all around the world.
In this article, we will explore a few compelling reasons why modern baby foods can be unhealthy choices for our infants.
Excessive Sugar Content
As reported by the Oral Health Foundation, the sugar content in the vast majority of baby food products is extremely high. Many baby foods are sweetened with various sugars, including high fructose corn syrup, fruit puree concentrates, and even artificial sweeteners. While some sugar is naturally present in fruits and vegetables, the added sugars can far exceed what is necessary for a baby’s diet.
Excessive sugar consumption can contribute to various health issues in babies, including an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and dental problems. Furthermore, a diet high in added sugars can lead to poor eating habits later in life.
Can Cause Gastrointestinal Problems
Baby formulas have added nutrients in them for the growth and development of the baby. However, babies aren’t accustomed to these nutrients or the food’s structural composition. Hence, when they start consuming these foods, they tend to develop gastrointestinal problems.
At the same time, many modern baby foods are somewhat toxic in nature. This can be because of the way the foods were manufactured, or the ingredients in them. The toxicity in these baby foods can also cause gastrointestinal problems, something that was seen in the Similac lawsuit.
According to TorHoerman Law, the Similac baby formula has been found to cause Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) in infants. NEC is a condition affecting the intestinal tracts of infants and can lead to severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc.
The Toxic NEC baby formula lawsuits against the Similac formulas are being filed to seek compensation for those affected by it. This mostly includes parents of infants who used to regularly feed their babies this formula.
Overprocessing and Loss of Nutrients
Modern baby foods are often subject to excessive processing, something we’ve established right at the start of this article. Excessive processing can result in the loss of essential nutrients.
The manufacturing process includes high-temperature cooking, pasteurization, and even irradiation, all of which can degrade the nutritional value of the ingredients. In particular, heat-sensitive vitamins like vitamin C and certain B vitamins are prone to degradation during processing.
Babies need a wide range of nutrients for proper growth and development. Losing these nutrients in the baby food-making process is far from ideal. Parents should carefully read labels and choose baby foods that have undergone minimal processing.
High Salt Content
Many modern baby foods, especially the savory options, contain excessive amounts of salt. A baby’s developing kidneys are not equipped to handle high sodium levels. Excessive salt intake can lead to various health issues, including high blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases later in life.
A minimal amount of sodium is necessary for the body’s functions. However, the salt content in some commercial baby foods can far exceed what is safe and appropriate for an infant.
Parents must read labels carefully and choose baby foods with low or no added salt. Alternatively, preparing homemade baby food allows parents to control and limit the amount of salt in their baby’s diet.
Preservatives and Additives
The use of preservatives and additives in modern baby foods is another concerning aspect. These additives are often used to extend the shelf life of products, enhance flavor, or improve texture. While the intentions may seem practical, the long-term effects of consuming these substances are not well understood, especially in infants and young children.
HealthyChildren.org reports that common additives in baby foods include artificial colors, flavors, and chemical preservatives like BHA and BHT. These additives have been linked to various health concerns, including allergies, hyperactivity, and even carcinogenic potential in some cases.
Limited Flavor Exposure
Another drawback of modern baby foods is their limited flavor exposure.
Many commercially available baby foods offer a narrow range of flavors and textures. These can hinder the development of a child’s palate. Babies who are exclusively fed pre-packaged baby food may become accustomed to bland, one-dimensional tastes. That makes it more challenging to introduce them to a diverse and balanced diet as they grow.
Babies need to experience a variety of flavors and textures during their early stages of development. This helps them develop a broader and healthier palate, making them more open to trying different foods as they transition to solid foods.
Based on the above-discussed reasons, it’s evident that modern baby foods are very unhealthy. Parents must understand the drawbacks that such products have, despite the convenience they provide. In doing so, they can make better choices when purchasing baby foods and balance their baby’s diet as needed.