Why Babies Should Not Eat Sugar

When it comes time for solid foods, you may be faced with one of an endless number of parenting decisions surrounding food. You’ve already made the best first food choice to breastfeed so your baby’s nutrition is definitely a top priority. With the introduction of solid foods, you have the opportunity to continue to build on the foundation of healthy eating habits you established from day one. As you now have many food options for your baby in addition to breast milk it may be your parental instinct not to feed your baby sugary foods. Good instincts! But do you know why babies should not eat sugar? Today we’re going to explain why babies should not eat sugar.

Why Babies Should Not Eat Sugar

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting solid foods between four and six months. The rules have changed on where to start with baby foods and now almost anything goes. So the possibilities are vast and sometimes parents are overwhelmed with options.

Your first decision about solids is whether to serve store-bought or homemade. You may prefer the control and satisfaction of homemade baby food or the convenience and variety of store-bought food. Either way, it’s important to ensure your baby’s earliest solid foods do not have added sugar. You will probably start with fruits, vegetables and grains, all of which can and should be prepared without added sugar. Of course the natural sugar found in many of these foods is fine, but adding sugar is completely unnecessary.

Ok, you’ve got that covered and you’re probably feeling that this food thing is pretty easy. But wait, it gets much more complicated.

It’s not until your baby is ready for combination foods like breads, yogurt, dips and so on that the parenting decisions really come into play. How much sugar will you allow your baby to have? And then your toddler, preschooler, and big kid? It’s a continual question you’ll be asking yourself throughout your baby’s childhood.

Still the question remains why babies should not eat sugar. The answer is relatively simple in that it is similar to why older children and adults don’t need very much added sugar. Excessive sugar bogs down the body. While it gives a brief energy burst, sugar really does more damage than good on a cellular level. It affects everything from cognitive function to muscle development. Sugar contributes to diabetes and obesity, two health conditions that are associated with a laundry list of further health complications. Plus, sugar is linked to ear infections in babies and can cause tooth decay.

Furthermore, developing a sweet tooth at a young age is not good for babies because it sets the stage for their food expectations for the rest of their lives. That’s not to say they shouldn’t enjoy food, but added sugar is an acquired craving and one that can start in infancy. If you limit sugar in early childhood and put an emphasis on healthy eating habits, you can avoid some of the negative health repercussions and desire for sugary foods in the future.

Even with these negative side-effects of sugar readily available, baby food manufacturers add sugar to food regularly. Beyond jars of pureed baby food, some baby snacks such as crackers, puffs, cereal o’s and dried fruits have added sugar. Because they are marketed as baby foods, parents believe they are healthy. But parents should beware and read labels to know exactly how much sugar is in the foods they are serving their babies.

It’s important to know why babies should not eat sugar so you are prepared to make essential parenting decisions surrounding food for your baby when it’s time to begin solids. By breastfeeding you set your baby on a healthy path. Continue the great work by limiting sugar, especially in infancy.

Source: Parenting Healthy Babies