Jars of baby food could 'trigger a sweet tooth'
Scientists believe commercial baby foods could be to blame for giving children a sweet tooth later in life.
According to research from the University of Glasgow, many of the top brands (even the natural and organic varieties) are so sweet that infants never learn how to appreciate bitter flavours.
The main culprits are naturally sweeter vegetables such carrot and sweet potato, but many commercial baby foods also contain added fruit juice and rarely feature green vegetables as a main ingredient.
In fact, of the 329 baby foods tested, one fifth contained added fruit juice, while the most popular ingredients included mango, tomato, apple, banana, carrot and sweet potato.
So, what's a parent to do?
According to study lead Dr Ada Garcia, it's important that parents cook a variety of vegetables at home and introduce them as well as, or instead of, commercial foods:
“A recent study showed that while commercial baby foods list fruit and vegetables as ingredients, higher use of these foods was associated with lower intake of fruit and vegetables in infancy which persisted into school age." she said.
“The risk is that while parents may think commercial baby foods are introducing their children to healthy vegetable tastes, actually they are mainly reinforcing preferences for sweet foods.
“Infants usually accept new foods and tastes well if vegetable tastes are introduced early, and this early experience influences food preference later in childhood.”
Here's how to make a week's worth of baby food (experiment with cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, peas and broccoli) in just one hour.