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A new report shows that commercially prepared baby food in the UK falls short when it comes to nutrition. The study, published online in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, looked specifically at taste, texture and nutritional content in terms of energy, protein, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, iron, sodium and calcium found within various commercial baby foods available in the UK. What the research team, led by Dr. Charlotte Wright, of the University of Glasgow in Scotland found was less than savory. Of the 479 baby food products examined during the study, a full 65% were overly sweet — with high sugar contents, and provided little extra nutritional benefits over breast milk or formula during the weaning stage. According to the research team, few of these commercially prepared baby foods follow through when it comes to nutrition or enhancing the diversity of taste and texture in a baby’s diet. Additionally, the research team found some marketing problems too. Most of the commercial baby foods looked at were being marketed to 4 month-old babies, but health organizations recommend that infants that young should only be breastfeeding or drinking formula. 4 months-old is simply too young for solids. Dr. Peter Richel, chief of the department of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital told WebMD, “American babies likely face the same nutritional issues. Offerings for infant foods [in the United States] are too sweet in general. Parents should be aware of processed foods, artificial sweeteners in fruits and ‘baby-friendly’ yogurts and yogurt drinks.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve reported news of this nature. From low nutrient content to high levels of lead to traces of veterinary drugs found in baby food, it’s clear that skipping store-bought baby food is a healthy choice. When you do start your baby on solids, try serving some healthy finger foods or make some healthy homemade baby food.

+ Nutritional content of infant commercial weaning foods in the UK

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