A study from the University of Glasgow, in the United Kingdom, has revealed some disappointing news for parents who purchase store-bought baby food.
The results of the study, which have been published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, reveal that most commercial baby foods lack the adequate nutrition for a healthy weaning infant—when compared with human breast milk.
The weaning process for infants is meant to expose young children to a wide variety of foods in order to boost nutrition and energy for growth and development. Weaning can begin as early as 6-months of age. However, with commercial baby foods marketed as healthy food sources from as early as 4-months of age (2 months too early according to the American Academy of Pediatrics), the study may leave many parents who’ve chosen to discontinue breastfeeding worried about the nutrition of their little ones.
The Glasgow study examined a variety of 462 different baby foods (a combination of ready-made soft foods, wet foods, powdered foods, cereals, and dry biscuits and snacks marketed to infants) produced by four different manufacturers for nutritional content. It found:
The ready-made foods contained the same energy content as breast milk, but lacked in protein content.
Dry biscuits and snack foods contained the most energy and nutrient density, but they were too high in sugar.
Researchers say, “Parents who choose to use commercial foods early in the weaning process…should be aware that such food will not add to the nutrient density of a (breast) milk diet.”
Study authors also recommend homemade baby food over commercial baby food as long as salt and sugar are not added to homemade weaned foods and that infants are transitioned to healthy family foods in the later part of their first year of age.
Source: Medical News Today