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Welcome to Part 1 of my 8 part series: A Dietitian’s Guide to Baby Cereal. My goal in writing this series is to provide you with the education you need about these cereals to make an informed choice about when and what cereals you’d like to feed your baby. To stay connected with me and receive updates on this series, subscribe via RSS, or like Smart Nutrition on facebook!
Are Baby Cereals Just Sugar Bowls in Disguise?
I was inspired to write this series by some misleading information some readers sent my way. Apparently there is some concern out there that baby cereals are high in sugar. The fear-mongering website of Joseph Mercola warns you:
[blockquote cite=”Joseph King-of-Misinformation Mercola” type=”center”]“When you feed your baby a bowl of infant cereal, picture yourself dipping directly into your sugar bowl and feeding baby a spoon or two, because that’s essentially what it amounts to.”[/blockquote]
This same website then proceeds to recommend several alternatives, one of which is cooked carrots. So I decided to do some nutrition investigation and compare the two. I can’t resist a good nutrition investigation.
|% of calories||Cooked Carrots||Rice Baby Cereal prepared with Whole Milk|
Carrots have 150% HIGHER percentage of calories from carbs than the prepared infant cereal!
Carrots have 200% HIGHER percentage of calories from sugar than the prepared infant cereal!
So, with this new information, allow me to rewrite the quote above:
[blockquote cite=”Jessica Worried-You’ll-Take-This-Seriously Penner” type=”center”]“When you feed your baby a bowl of cooked carrots, picture yourself dipping directly into your sugar bowl and feeding baby several spoonfuls, because that’s essentially what it amounts to.”[/blockquote]
Nobody thinks they’re feeding pure sugar to their kids when they give them carrots, because they aren’t. You have to look at the food as a whole: carrots also contain fibre, which helps to slow down the absorption of the sugar into the bloodstream and keeps a person feeling fuller for longer.
Likewise with the baby cereal. You have to look at the food as a whole: breastmilk or infant formula is added when the cereals are prepared. These contain fat and protein, which also help to slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and keep a person feeling fuller for longer.
Where does the sugar come from in baby cereal?
A package of baby cereal contains NO SUGAR. In the above comparison, the 20% of calories that come from sugar is from naturally occurring sugars in the added milk. The cereal also contains starches that will break down into sugar, but so do cooked carrots. In fact, carrots have more starch than baby cereal.
No, baby cereals are definitely not just a sugar bowl in disguise. Have you been turned off of baby cereals because of this myth, or something else you’ve heard about them? Comment below!
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