Baby food favourites and why.....
Foodhealth’s philosophy is to minimise the consumption of processed food for every Australian. We also believe that the first step to getting healthier is to break this country’s addiction to sugary foods. The tide is slowly turning and people are starting to say ‘yes, I know sugar is bad for me’ but the inspiration for Foodhealth came when this message was being lost in translation….. So how bad is it?
Here is a very simplified version (we are not anatomical scientists, so please excuse us if you are.)
Our built in appetite- control centre is called The Hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus controls growth, body temperature, when we sleep, our hunger and our thirst.
The 4 major appetite hormones that send messages to our hypothalamus are;
Insulin ( triggers ‘enough to eat’ message – when we eat glucose)
Leptin ( triggers ‘enough to eat’ message – when we eat fat )
CCK (cholecystokinin) (triggers ‘enough to eat’ message – when we eat protein, fat)
Ghrelin (temporarily overrides the 3 ‘enough to eat’ hormones and tells us to eat)
The six categories of nutrients are;
Carbohydrates ( Glucose, Galactose, Fructose), These are the carbohydrates you need to take notice of.
Every piece of food we eat stimulates the release of one of more of the ‘enough to eat’ hormones when we’ve had our fill.
Besides vitamins, minerals and water; there is one substance that does not stimulate the release of the ‘enough to eat’ hormones.
Fructose is converted to circulating fatty acids (then body fat) without passing through either of the major appetite-control gateways (insulin and CCK)
We can eat fructose as much as we want and never feel full for long. Every gram of fructose consumed is directly converted to fatty acids.
Recent studies have shown that high levels of fatty acids in the arteries block the action of leptin as well as inhibit insulin production. So not only is fructose making us fat, it is messing with our built in appetite-control.
Note ; if we consume too much glucose it is also converted to fatty acids. However, we have a back-up system in an enzyme called PFK-1 which shuts down fatty acid production.
In a nutshell, PFK-1 stops us getting fat on glucose. Unfortunately PFK-1 does not recognise Fructose.
So now you know what Fructose is doing to your body …………………
How do we limit our consumption?
Seeing that this is our very first newsletter we thought it appropriate to start at the beginning of the lifecycle. Jody Seaton our director, is a busy mother of four and although she knows home-made is best she understands how challenging it can be to find time to process a young baby’s pureed food. Using supermarket baby food occasionally, Jody realised she was standing in the baby aisle for up to 20 minutes reading all of the labels and weighing up which is best. So here is Jody’s ‘go to’ criteria for a speedier supermarket baby food shop;
I aim to give my son (when 6-8 months of age he is eating purees) 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit per day. This is in accordance to the National Dietary Guidelines for an adult. Obviously my son’s serves are much smaller but the ratio 5:2 is still my target.
In order to do this, at a glance it seems easy. E.g Rafferty’s garden – Spinach, apple, broccoli and pea (and nothing else). Perfect, that’s 3:1 and I’m on the right track! Wrong!!
On further investigation this product is 70% apple. So without any further investigation I would have assumed my son had had a serve or two of veg and follow up with some fruit.
E.g. Heinz – Simply pear, guava and strawberry. Sounds perfect right? Wrong !!
Strawberry juice is the ingredient. This means that the sugar and the water has been extracted from many strawberries. There is no fibre. It is not recommended to feed juice to young babies. Whole fruit is the best option, even once pureed all of the fibre is in the product to help your baby feel full. Juice will not do this but could lead to cavities in your baby’s teeth.
Other terms on ingredient lists to be wary of are;
Any type of fruit ‘paste’
Reconstituted ‘tomato puree’
Any type of fruit ‘concentrate’
These ingredients are added sugars that food manufacturers do not have to identify as sugar. The same goes for any product containing fruit juice.
Our children do not need to be fed sugar (mainly fructose* see above). It is not a food group. It’s only natural source is in honey and fruit. By all means, give your child fruit but try not to extract only the sugar.
Galactose is a sugar that for all digestive purposes is treated very similarly to glucose. If your child is not lactose intolerant, dairy products such as natural yoghurt and whole fat cheese are a better choice than any baby custards on the market.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently changed their guidelines to 3 teaspoons of sugar per day for children. This does not include the sugar found in whole fruits, vegetables and dairy products (so go for it with these great foods). But the WHO does not specify what constitutes a child. So if my 11 year old is having 3 teaspoons per day, would it also be healthy if my 6 month old did? I just avoid any added sugar for my son. I’m sure he’ll catch up when he can talk and ask for treats.
Do you have some ideas for really speedy baby meals or have some products that meet the above criteria?
The products I like are;
Blueberries, banana and apple
Pear and apricot
Parsnip, carrot and butternut squash (and nothing else)
I would love to hear of some more products, please share the ingredient list.