Baby Food Companies Shortchange Kids’ Mineral Needs

Baby foods may not be as wholesome as their pleasant labels try to make them seem. A recent study performed at the University Of Greenwich School Of Science garnered international attention after revealing that store-bought, ready-made baby food contains less than a fifth of the recommended daily amounts of specific essential minerals.

The study, based on eight sample jars produced by four popular brands sold at leading supermarkets, investigated the food’s micronutrient contents. The samples included four meat and four vegetable varieties, and one with pasta.

The scientists found that an infant fed one meat jar and one vegetable jar, plus 600ml of formula milk, would receive less than 20 percent of the recommended daily supply of calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium.

Zinc and calcium are especially important to an infant’s development. Zinc is essential for normal growth and development, as well as the function of enzymes and hormones.[1] [2] [3] Since zinc does not store well in the body, adequate daily intake important for growth.

Calcium is vital during a baby’s first year when babies double the mass of their skeletons.[4] The structure of the body depends on calcium and 99 percent of the body’s entire supply is deposited as calcium salts in the bones and teeth.[5] [6]

Dr. Nazanin Zand, who conducted the research warns, “Our investigation showed that there was a need to improve the nutritional value of some complementary baby feeds. In addition, the regulations governing them need to be tighter and more robust.”

The study appeared in the Food Chemistry Journal.

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[1] Rink L, Gabriel P. Zinc and the immune system. Proc Nutr Soc 2000; 59: 541-52.

[2] Simmer K, Thompson RP. Zinc in the fetus and newborn. Acta Pediatr Scand 1985; 319(Suppl): 158.

[3] Cousins RI. Zinc. In: Present Knowledge in Nutrition. Ed. Zeigler EE, Filer LJ. Washington DC. ILSI Press 1996.

[4] Duggan C, Watkins J, Walker A. Nutrition in Pediatrics: basic science, clinical applications. BC Decker, 2008: p30.

[5] Thomas B and Bishop J. Manual of Dietetic Practice, Fourth Edition. Blackwell Publishing, 2007.

[6] Greer F, Krebs N. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Optimizing Bone Health and Calcium Intakes of Infants, Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics
2006; 117 (2): 578-585.

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Kellye Copas

By Kellye Copas

Staff writer Kellye Copas has several years experience writing for the alternative health industry. Her background is in non-profit fundraising, copywriting and direct mail and web marketing.