Why No Salt and Sugar for babies till 1 year? This must be one of the foremost doubt for all new moms who start weaning for their babies.
A couple of days back a new mom emailed me to ask “Can I add Salt to my Baby food” due to a volume of emails I receive everyday, just sent out a short reply that she shouldn’t add salt to baby food till 1 year. Immediately a reply landed in my inbox asking the reason behind the No sugar no salt rule for babies till 1 year.
Today’s article aims to tackle the “why no salt and sugar for babies” rule and provide a detailed, researched explanation for the importance of avoiding salt and sugar in a baby’s diet until 1 year of age.
Why No Salt And Sugar for Babies till 1 year ?
Let’s reason out some basic concepts first,
” Why do you think that your baby needs salt in his/ her food ? “
You think that the reason your baby is not accepting the first foods because it is bland.
This is where most of us are mistaken. Your baby doesn’t show interest in the food because they are used to breastmilk and may be hesitant to try new, unknown flavors.
For someone who has tasted only breastmilk till 6 months of age and has never experienced the taste of salt before, what is the need to add salt to their food? Let’s explore the reasons behind the “why no salt and sugar for babies” rule.
He can’t miss something that he hasn’t experienced yet !!!!
Harmful effects of adding salt to Baby Food
A baby’s salt requirement per day is less than 1 g per day (0.4g of sodium) and this is mostly met by the breastmilk or formula. So any extra salt will be a burden on the tiny kidneys and the kidney’s will not be able to function properly due to the excessive load. This may lead to kidney disease and it has also been proven to cause hypertension in the adult life. Excessive intake of salt in childhood has also been attributed to diseases as osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory illnesses.¹ This is why it is important to understand why no salt and sugar for babies until 1 year of age.
The SACN ² recommends the following Salt Requirement for babies, toddlers, and children
|Age||Maximum Salt Intake|
|0-6 months||< 1 g (0.4g of sodium)|
|6-12 months||< 1 g (0. 4g of sodium)|
|1-3 years||2 g (0.8g of sodium)|
|4-6 years||3 g (1.2g of sodium)|
|7-10 years||5 g ( 2 g of sodium)|
|11 years and above||6 g (2.4 g of s0dium)|
Some people advice to add a pinch of salt to baby food which is also equally dangerous.
While the amount of a pinch of salt may vary, Wiki calculates that 1 pinch of salt = ¼ gram.
One pinch of salt added to three meals a day equals to more than 0.75 g of salt that in addition to the salt in breastmilk or formula may skyrocket the salt consumed by the baby per day.
How to add flavor to baby food without adding salt?
You can make your baby food more interesting and tasty by adding spices appropriate to the age of the baby.
How to know whether commercial Baby & children food is high in Salt?
While most of us prefer Homemade Baby food, there are few situations like traveling with babies where in we have to depend on commercial baby food.
Not only for babies, even food for children may also be high in salt, and you should always be careful while selecting the food.
The salt content is usually given as figures for sodium. As a rough guide, food containing more than 0.6g of sodium per 100g is considered high in salt ³. You can workout the amount of salt in foods by multiplying the amount of sodium by 2.5. Now, let’s move on to why no sugar for babies below 1 year:
Many mommies think that no sugar for babies also means no sweet foods for babies and refrain from giving nutritious fruits for their little ones.
By sugar, we always mean the “White Refined Sugar” not the natural sweetness of fruits and natural sweeteners.
Why is sugar harmful to Babies below 1 year?
1. Sugar is refined by lot of chemical processes which may be harmful to children.
2. Excess sugar may cause caries and tooth decay in children.
3. Excess of sugar may depress immunity.
4. Research has also shown that children fed with high sugar diet were prone to cardiovascular, diabetes and obesity.
What to substitute for sugar in baby foods?
Natural Sweeteners for Baby food
1. Any fruit can be added to baby food to make them naturally sweet
2. Dates Syrup (After 8 months)
3. Honey (After 1 year)
Learn more about Natural sweeteners for Baby Food
Hope your doubts regarding the No Salt and Sugar theory is resolved now, do comment below for any other queries that need answers.
Also, if your baby has recently started on solids, you might also be wondering what kind of feeding chair is best for your baby. Check out our detailed post – High Chair Vs Booster Seat: Your Ultimate Guide to Buying a Feeding Chair.
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