Baby foods make children like sweet tastes not healthy food

By: | Published: August 30, 2015 9:55 PM

Commercial baby foods predominantly use fruits and sweet vegetables which are more likely to make children favour sweet tastes than to encourage them to eat their greens...

Commercial baby foods predominantly use fruits and sweet vegetables which are more likely to make children favour sweet tastes than to encourage them to eat their greens, a new study has said.

This lack of variety is unlikely to promote the development of bitter tastes in youngsters, say the authors of the study by nutritionists at Glasgow University.

The study of 329 brand-name products has shown commercial baby foods use predominantly fruits and sweet vegetables, like carrot, rather than bitter ones like spinach.

It said sweet fruit and vegetables contribute significantly to sugar content and appear to be used as sweetening agents.

Fruits were mentioned more than vegetables in the names of baby foods and even savoury foods contained an average of 3-7 per cent sugar.

Dr Ada Garcia, who led the research, said, “Infants have an innate preference for sweet foods. While manufacturers clearly recognise the demand for products that appear to be healthy, commercial pressure will ensure these products are highly palatable.

“Taste learning requires parents to introduce their children to less palatable bitter tastes and keep offering them, however, it is probably unrealistic to expect commercial products to assist in this process.”

The researchers looked at products from all the major manufacturers u2013 Organix, Hipp Organix, Heinz, Ellau2019s Kitchen, Cow and Gate, Boots and Plum Baby and scanned for mentions of fruit and vegetables in the names and analysed the contents.

They found that in baby foods fruits are more commonly featured in the names than vegetables. Fruit juice added to 18 per cent of products, with a median content of 15g/100g added fruit juice.

The median content of fruit and vegetables ranged from 94 per cent for sweet-spoonable foods, to 13 per cent for dry savoury.

The most common ingredients mentioned were: apple, banana, tomato, mango, carrot and sweet potato, Green vegetables were rarely used.

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