What adding sugar does to baby food is to make it sweeter and hence tastier, which in turn might help you in getting your little one eat it without much fuss.
We, however, do not recommend you going for this easy route of sweetening milk and food so that feeding is not a nightmare for you.
- Why Sugar is not recommended for children?
- But Then, Our Ancestors Ate Sugar, And They Turned Out Ok?
- So How Can I Feed My Fussy Eater Without Using Sugar?
Why Sugar is not recommended for child?
- Sugar has no nutrition: 1 teaspoon of refined sugar is 16 calories and contains absolutely no nutrition – it has no vitamins, minerals, protein, or fat
- Sugar spikes blood glucose levels: Sugar is just a form of simple carbohydrates. And this means that sugar is easily broken down to glucose once eaten and this can spike the blood sugar levels. And since it is easily broken down, your baby will be hungry faster. And he will crave for more food that is sweeter
- Sugar can lead to obesity: Sugar is directly linked to childhood obesity. And since having one sugary snack will lead to craving for more, we can see why!
- Sugar can increase the chances of childhood diabetes: Sugar is known to trigger pancreas to produce more insulin that is necessary and hence increase the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Sugar can lead to heart problems: Just like fat, too much of sugar can also lead to high blood pressure and heart problems, even in kids
- Sugar can lead to tooth decay: If baby’s teeth are exposed to sugary food and drinks (especially drinks) for a prolonged time, tooth decay can occur. This is because the bacteria in your baby’s mouth thrive on the sugar and then secretes acids that will attack the teeth. This is especially of concern for babies who drink sugary milk or juices out of bottles and fall asleep. A certain amount of this milk or juice stays in the mouth, even after the baby gets a chance to swallow it before sleeping off and the concentrated sugar in this left over liquid accelerates tooth decay
- Sugar can be addictive: Once a baby is used to having sugar with most of the food (milk, dosa, paratha, dahlia and so on), it will be very difficult to grow them out of this habit as they become older. In fact, even as adults, they will find it hard to keep sugar at bay
But Then, Our Ancestors Ate Sugar, And They Turned Out Ok?
This is a common argument used to favor the use of sugar in baby food. What we need to understand is that sugar was not as easily available then as now. Sugar was not as refined then as now. And finally sugar was not as “hidden” in processed food then as now. The baby cereal you buy from market or the “health” drink you buy to ensure your baby grows taller and fitter, the biscuits, the chocolates – everything is laden with sugar these days. This means your baby is already so exposed to refined sugar. And once you start adding sugar to home cooked food as well, the child will consume well over the limit every day.
Sugar clearly has no nutritional benefits. But yes, if consumed in small quantities it does not lead to any major health problems. Defining what a “small” quantity is tricky though. What is trickier is to identify the hidden sugar in processed food that we tend to give our kids blindly.
So How Can I Feed My Fussy Eater Without Using Sugar?
Refined sugar is really the villain here. Naturally occurring sugars, like the fruit sugars are alright for the child. So if your baby is refusing to have dahlia, mash a banana and add to it. Or replace plain “boring” milk with fruity milk shakes. You can blend mangoes, strawberries, bananas or any other seasonal fruit with milk to add some flavor and make it tastier. You can also add honey, as long as the baby is over a year old (Read: Is Honey Safe For Infants?).
For more ideas on healthy food for your baby, read What Are The Best First Foods For My Baby?.
If you are still having trouble feeding your child, read Amazing Tips To Tackle Eating Disorders In Toddlers.