All parents want to give their babies healthy and balanced diet that is full of vitamins and minerals essential for proper growth and development of the baby. But salt and sugar are two such ingredients that should be avoided at least till the child’s first birthday. However, naturally sweet foods such as fruits, fruit pulp and dates can be given. When babies are fed with sugary foods they prefer less of healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits and plain milk. Sadly, parents do not realise that infant formulas also have high sugar. Such a high and continuous sugar intake (starting from infancy) gives rise to childhood obesity and other health issues in the future. Therefore, parents should make it a habit to always check the food label before buying any food item for their little ones. Here’s why adding salt to your baby’s food is a terrible mistake
Why is sugar an enemy for babies?
- White sugar is nothing but refined sugar that contains chemicals which may be harmful to children.
- Research has also shown that intake of refined sugar may depress the immunity which may further lead to high risk of infections and diseases in babies.
- Some clinical studies have also shown that young babies who are given foods high in sugar are at an increased risk of heart disease in future.
- By adding sugar to the meals parents encourage sweet tooth which can further lead to tooth decay when first teeth start appearing. Sugar intake may increase the population of oral bacteria which further causes damage to the new teeth.
- Studies have shown that sugar intake during infancy also reduces concentration levels in early childhood.
How to cut down sugar intake?
- Read the food labels carefully
- Strictly avoid canned fruits as their sugar content is way too high.
- Avoid the intake of sugar-sweetened juices and other beverages.
- Limit intake of biscuits and cookies.
- Give your babies plain milk and avoid adding sugar to it.
- Add natural sweeteners such as fruit pulp to porridges, kheer, milkshakes and yogurt.
- Strictly limit the intake of processed foods such as jams, jellies, sauces, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, malt syrup and soft drinks. These food items are completely loaded with sugar and hence, they are very unhealthy.
- There are many cereals in the market that are fruit or chocolate based. These cereals are high in sugar and one must always opt for plain cereals and then add sweetness to it by adding some fresh fruits.
- Similarly, one should not purchase flavored yogurts due to its high sugar content.
Bottom line: Though sugar has a sweet taste, it can be as bad as a sweet poison for your little one. Therefore, strictly limit the sugar intake for the first 12 months of age. Replace refined sugar with foods that have a naturally sweet taste such as fruits. After 1 year of age slowly introduce sugar to your little ones’ diet but do not make it a habit. Parents must always find some healthy ways to replace refined sugar with natural sources.