Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Commercial baby foods don't meet infants' weaning needs

Date:
September 9, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
UK commercial baby foods don't meet infants' dietary weaning needs, because they are predominantly sweet foods that provide little extra nutritional goodness over breast milk, indicates new research.

UK commercial baby foods don't meet infants' dietary weaning needs, because they are predominantly sweet foods that provide little extra nutritional goodness over breast milk, indicates research published online in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Furthermore, they are promoted for infants from the age of four months -- an age when they should still be on an exclusive breast milk diet, say the researchers.

They wanted to find out what sort of products are available in the UK for weaning infants from a predominantly milk based diet to a family food based diet, and to assess their nutritional value.

The weaning process aims to introduce infants to a wider range of tastes, textures, and flavours, to encourage them to accept different foods, and to boost their energy and nutrient intake.

UK government recommendations on weaning foods stipulate that these should be introduced gradually, starting with cereals, vegetables and fruits, followed by protein-rich foods and should not be started before six months, in line with recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding until that time.

The authors therefore analysed the nutritional content of all infant foods intended for weaning and produced by four major UK manufacturers and two specialist suppliers between October 2010 and February 2011.

The products included ready-made soft, wet foods, powdered meals to be reconstituted with milk or water, breakfast cereals, and finger foods, such as rusks.

The authors collected their information on the calorie density, added salt and sugar, and the protein, iron, calcium, and carbohydrate content, from the manufacturers' websites, labels on products in store, and via direct email inquiry.

Most (79%) of the 462 stand-alone products assessed were ready made spoonable foods, almost half of which (44%; 201) were aimed at infants from the age of four months onwards.

Analysis of the 410 spoonable foods revealed that their energy content (282 kiloJoules per 100 grams) was almost identical to that of breast milk (283kJ/100g). And their protein content was only 40% higher than formula milk.

Products containing meat had the highest iron content, but this was again no higher than formula milk, and not much higher than products that did not contain meat.

Dry finger foods had a much higher energy and nutrient density overall, but they were also particularly high in sugar.

Around two thirds (65%) of the stand-alone products were sweet foods. Babies have an innate preference for sweet foods, which might explain why sweet ingredients feature so prominently in commercial products, say the authors.

"However, repeated exposure to foods during infancy promotes acceptance and preferences," they write, and the inclusion of fruit sugars rather than refined sugars won't make any difference in terms of the risk of tooth decay, they say.

The nutritional content of the shop-bought products was compared with that of typical family home-made foods commonly given to infants and toddlers.

The savoury ready-made spoonable foods generally had much lower nutrient density than typical home-made foods, with the exception of iron content.

But it still means that 50g of a spoonable family food would probably supply the same amount of energy and protein as 100g of a similar commercial product, say the authors.

They emphasise that the main point of weaning foods is to increase the energy content of the diet and provide richer sources of nutrients, such as iron.

"Yet the most commonly used commercial foods considered in this study supply no more energy than breast or formula milk" and yet they are promoted at an age when they will replace the breast (or formula milk), which is all that babies under six months really need, they explain.

"While it is understandable that parents may choose to use [these products] early in the weaning process, health professionals should be aware that such food will not add to the nutrient density of a milk diet," they conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. L. Garcia, S. Raza, A. Parrett, C. M. Wright. Nutritional content of infant commercial weaning foods in the UK. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2013; DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2012-303386

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Commercial baby foods don't meet infants' weaning needs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909201325.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, September 9). Commercial baby foods don't meet infants' weaning needs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909201325.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Commercial baby foods don't meet infants' weaning needs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909201325.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins