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How Much Sugar Is Your Baby Eating?

For October's Featured Writer Of The Month, we have Lisa O'Riordan, looking into how hidden sugar is far more widespread than we might imagine ... no wonder so many of us have a 'sweet tooth'. If you'd like to be our next Featured Writer, you can find more details here.

We all know sugar is bad. It doesn't take all the scary documentaries in the last year or so to tell us that, we have always known. We were always told when we were younger not to eat too many sweets, because your teeth will get cavities; but on getting older we realised there's more to it than that.

Sugar is bad for our health, nutritionally it's like poison. We are becoming more aware of this as a society, but it's not just us as adults wanting to be fit and healthy: Have you ever considered what your baby is actually eating?

Read Next: The Bitter Truth About Hidden Sugar

Unfortunately, we don't have to give baby a sweet, to expose it to sugar. You may think your only worry is the little bit of chocolate you gave your little one at Easter, and now you feel guilty about it. No, shockingly almost all their food contains at least some sugar. Some more than others. Even similar items from different brands can vary greatly. Upon looking on the food shelves for some of baby's first foods, I was searching for something with a lower sugar content, and realised the great difference.

For example, baby rice (the standard powder form one in a box), contains a minimal amount of sugar, roughly 0.4g, for most brands. If you pick up a similar product say rice pudding, which is convenient if you're on the go, as they generally come in ready-made tubs, jars or pouches; you may be shocked at the difference in sugar levels. Where the ordinary baby rice was low in sugar; if you pick up these, it goes anywhere from 2.9g per 100g of big brand Rice Pudding Dessert, up to 16.6g per 100g for Organic 'Bananas, Apricots, and Baby Rice.'

Read Next: 5 Ways To Reduce Your Baby's Sugar Intake

What is more confusing is, if you look at the nutritional content of baby milk formula, there is sugar listed. That's right, one of the first things our infant takes in (if you're not breastfeeding of course.) For example, one leading brand of First Infant Milk contains 7.1g per 100ml prepared feed. There are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon, so this is almost 2 teaspoons of sugar in a small amount of baby milk. (A newborn will have roughly 90ml per feed.)

Editor’s Note: Just to complicate the matter, not all sugars are created equal. Sugar is in baby formula because it’s an easy-to-digest carbohydrate. Look out for formula that contains Lactose (the sugars that naturally occur in Breastmilk.) It’s easy to digest, and does not increase blood sugar as much as others. Other sugars listed may include Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin (another type of corn sugar,) and Sucrose (table sugar;) which are commonly used for two reasons: 1) Because they are cheaper and 2) They are sweeter than lactose. Though there may be more than one type of carbohydrate listed, it is preferable for Lactose to appear further up the list if possible.

Upon looking this up on Google, the first search results are astounding: Basically, it involves a lot of mums asking questions on online forums asking if it's okay to add sugar to cows milk, to get baby of weaning age to drink it.  This is because they miss the taste of their milk formula, as its sweeter! 

Read Next: Weaning Your Baby From The Breast

If you look around you, there is sugar in everything. You just have to take a look around your kitchen. Bread has sugar in it, pasta sauce, milk. Some 'healthy' cereals contain a whopping 13.6g per 100g! You wonder why we try giving up sugar, and just cannot succeed. It's impossible to avoid: We've been hooked on it since birth.

Read Next: 75% of Moms Worry About Sugar In Children's Lunches

From the health issues caused, to the adverse effects it has on our skin and teeth; Sugar in food is a problem that needs to be resolved, and it needs to start at the beginning. Added sugar in baby food needs to be outlawed. Yes, some people will argue that there are naturally occurring sugars, I'm sure some of it is. But whether naturally occurring or not, we need to minimise our intake. Especially that of our little ones.

We have no control over the company's that make baby food. We do, however, have control about what we feed our baby. We can make smart choices: Where possible, breastfeed; make food from scratch; and check labels. It is our job to make sure future generations are not as dependent on sugar, and that our babies can be healthy and happy.

That's certainly food for thought.

Lisa is a stay at home mummy to two little boys (aged 8 yrs and 9 months). She is an aspiring writer (and day-dreamer;) and lover of all things trendy and aesthetic. Lisa enjoys sports, music, movies and curling up with a good book. To read more of her work, check out piecesofenvy.blogspot.ie

To find out more about being one of our featured writers, click here!


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