A new study from the University of Nottingham has suggested that babies who are weaned on solid finger food are more likely to develop healthier eating preferences and are less likely to become overweight as children than those fed puree.
The study suggests that while there is a lot of information on when to wean, there’s not much on weaning methods and it appears this can have an impact on developing healthy, mindful eating habits.
The research suggests that baby-led weaning has a positive impact on the liking of foods that form the building blocks of healthy nutrition, such as carbohydrates. Baby-led weaning promotes healthy food preferences in early childhood that may protect against obesity.
Last night my daughter and I sat down to watch one of David Attenborough’s The life Of Reptiles DVDs.
It showed the slow hunt of Komodo Dragons on a buffalo.
Eventually the buffalo gave up, died, and the Komodos did feast. It wasn’t too graphic, but showed enough so that she clearly understood what was happening, with additional commentary from me.
At first, she was perturbed by the buffalo’s death. There were questions,
“Why can’t they eat something that’s already dead?”
After responding, “Would you eat something that was already dead on the ground? Or would you prefer fresh food?” To that – a scrunched up little nose.
I moved on to emphasise that, as Sir David noted, 1 buffalo fed 10 Komodo dragons, and they wasted nothing.
I saw opportunity here and seized it.
Comparing animals and humans and their attitude to food usage, animals take what they need, and they don’t waste food. I pointed out that the remains of the buffalo showed no trace of meat; the dragons consumed everything available, and in doing so, respected the food and the animal.
Now take a look at humans. We take more than we need, we let it rot, then throw it out. In many cases we do not show proper respect for the food we have been given, or those who prepared and grew it.
“For example, how much food in your lunchbox gets wasted each day?”
I could see her mind ticking over, and her head slowly nodding…
There are many great examples in nature, like the buffalo and the Komodo dragons, of mindful eating that we might follow if we take the time to notice, and spend the time relating these to our children.
To be mindful of what you eat and how you look after your body is about caring and respect. That caring may then be encouraged to extend to the things around us like our food and they way we look after land; things that ultimately affect our minds and bodies.
More than nurturing an idea that mindful eating is “good”, we answer the question, “WHY”, which is ever more important in developing a child’s decision making process.
When we talk about “sugar”, generally we all think of white table sugar that we see everyday. White sugar is pure crystals of sucrose that are produced essentially by letting the sucrose crystals form from a hot saturated solution of sugar cane or sugar beet juice. The process is similar to getting sea salt from the evaporation of salt-water pools.
Sucrose is only one type of sugar and there are many. One of the most important and one it’s hard to find fault with is fructose, the sugar found naturally in all fruit and vegetables
It’s true that when we eat fruit or vegetables (dried or fresh) the overwhelming majority of the calories are supplied by carbohydrate – mostly in the form of fructose, which is the natural sugar in the fruit. Similarly in milk, the main source of carbohydrate is lactose, which is a milk “sugar”.
But that’s the nature of all plant foods – they’re predominantly carbohydrate (and that means not just natural sugars, but healthy starches as well as structural elements, like cellulose, that provide fibre). The majority of the calories you consume with vegetables come from carbohydrate, too. But you don’t hear people complaining about vegetables being full of “carbs”. Similarly in milk, the main source of carbohydrate is lactose which is a milk “sugar” but we don’t hear people complaining that milk has too much sugar either.
There’s a big difference between the nutritional value of the natural carbohydrates found in fruits and other plant foods – the sugars, starches and fibers – and what’s found (or, more accurately, what’s not found) in all the empty calories we eat from added sugars that find their way into everything. Not all sugars are the same.
As the Glycemic Index (GI) Foundation points out, some sugars, like sucrose, have a high GI and we generally recognise that as a poor choice of dietary carbohydrates. That’s why dieticians discourage “added sugar”. But fructose is a low GI sugar, which means it gives a slow release of energy that sustains the body for longer and does not produce a “sugar spike” in the blood. Mums often see the effects of this spike in their children when they go nuts for a while after a eating a lolly.
As the GI Foundation web site states:
The World Health Organisation (WHO), the highest nutrition authority in the world, has recently stated that all people should eat a high carbohydrate diet based on low Glycemic Index (GI) foods. The GI is determined by actual tests and does not rest on assumptions of what effect a product has on blood glucose.
So what about Bellamy’s Organic Fruit Snacks?
The idea that our fruit snacks are “full of sugar” needs to be put into perspective. We do not add sugar to any of our Snack products and the sugar that is there is natural fructose.
Faced with a serving of fruit, how much sugar are we talking about, anyway? An average orange has only about 12 grams of natural, low GI sugar (about 3 teaspoons) and a cup of strawberries has only about 7 grams – that’s less than two teaspoons. And either way, you’re also getting 3 grams of fibre, about a full day’s worth of vitamin C, healthy antioxidants and some folic acid and potassium to boot – and it’ll only contribute about 50 or 60 calories.
By contrast, a small cola drink contains 225 calories and, needless to say, won’t be supplying any antioxidants, vitamins, minerals or fibre. You’ll just consuming carbonated water, probably some artificial color and flavour, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 grams of added sugar – usually high GI sucrose. Water might be better?
So there you have it. It’s the difference in the sugars that make dieticians exhort us to eat fruit. They know that as part of a balanced diet it’s a healthy, low GI way to get energy and good nutrition.
What about Bellamy’s products? Here are some answers to questions that we’re often asked that might help a little more:
What is the recommended intake for Bellamy’s apple snacks i.e how many packets a week is ok for my child?
The current recommendation for adults and children is to consume a minimum of 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables every day. There is no recommended maximum, although too much of anything is not a good thing for keeping a balanced diet. As a general observation many Australian adults and children do not eat enough fruit or vegetables.
Generally, children aged 4 – 7 have recommended daily intakes of 1-2 serves of fruit and 2-4 serves of veggies. Our 20g packets of apple snacks are the equivalent of 2 small apples. This is about 1-2 serves of the minimum fruit intake recommended for young children.
Are they the same as eating a fresh apple?
Yes, except water is removed. We have tested the product and can demonstrate that the dried pieces have very similar nutrition to fresh pieces. In fact in the same way the concentration of sugar occurs so does the concentration of other beneficial nutrients.
If the moisture is taken out of the apple, does that concentrate the sugar in the apple snacks?
Yes it does per weight but the total sugar content does not. The nutrition information panel information is based on a per 100grams figure. Because the water is removed the percentage of sugar in 100grams does increase on drying but on a per-apple basis does not. If you think of a whole apple being dehydrated, it would be lighter and smaller than the fresh apple but contain the same amount of sugar, vitamins and minerals. Just remember that the packet is the equivalent of 2 small apples and nothing else.
What about your other fruit snacks? Do they have the same sugar levels?
Superbites 5 fruits = approximately 54% natural sugar
Apple and Pear = approximately 66% natural sugar
Apple and Banana = approximately 69% natural sugar
Apple = approximately 80% natural sugar
To find out more about the Glycemic Index and how it can help you with Mindful Eating choices go to www.gifoundation.com
If you’d like to know more about Bellamy’s Organic baby formula, cereals and our other products for older children click on this link. It will take you straight to our on-line store.
You may have seen some very warped information being put about on channel 7 yesterday about sugar in foods. The claim was made that “sugar is toxic” and that Bellamy’s Organic Fruit Snacks were 80% sugar in a way that was negative about the nutritional value of our products.
The idea that “sugar is toxic” is so ludicrous as to be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerously misleading. And when you consider that the only “food” the human brain can utilise is glucose (another form of sugar) you can see why!
The fact is that all fruit contains the naturally occurring sugar called fructose.
· It is free of pesticides, colours, flavours and any other additives.
· It does not contain added sugar of any type.
Naturalsugars from food such as fruit contain fructose, as we said above, and are a preferred source of carbohydrate in everyone’s diet.
If you compared the carbohydrate, natural sugar content & texture of a fresh organic apple, a dehydrated organic apple slice and a Bellamy’s Freeze Dried Organic Apple slice, then you would find that the fructose contents are almost the same and the different textures can be described respectively as sweet and crunchy, sweet and chewy, sweet and crisp.
In response to the Channel 7 program, The National Glycemic Index Foundation, the world’s leading body on GI awareness and education made the following comments today concerning the role of low GI sugar in the diet, particularly in the light of the nation’s obesity problems:
“The claim that ‘sugar is toxic’ is not supported by the vast majority of health professionals”.
“There is very strong scientific evidence that Low GI carbohydrates – those that are slowly digested and absorbed – cause a much lower and slower rise in blood glucose and insulin levels, helping people to lose body fat and keep it off, and also help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and its complications 5 (including blindness, heart attack or kidney failure).
It is a common misunderstanding that all sugars have a high GI and all starches have a low GI. In fact, many sugar-containing foods also have a low GI. Examples include fresh, dried and canned fruits, low fat milk, flavoured milk drinks and yoghurts”.
The drying process that is used to make Bellamy’s Fruit Snacks gently removes moisture from the Apple without destroying the flavour and nutrients.
The idea that there is somehow “bad” sugar in our product is simply nonsense.
You can serve your child Bellamy’s Organic Fruit Snacks with the complete confidence that they are pure and nutritionally sound and as a result you’re giving your child a pure start to life.
Of course, all intake of food, from whatever food group, should be part of a balanced diet.
12 March 2012: Bellamy’s Organic Pty Ltd, an Australian organic food producer based in Tasmania, has issued the following response to the inaccurate and misleading claims made on the Channel Seven program, Sunday Night, on 11 March, 2012:
In the program David Gillespie wrongly criticised Bellamy’s Organic Apple Snacks as containing too much sugar.
Guest reporter Peter FitzSimons also mistakenly confused added sugar to a product containing 80% naturally occurring fruit sugar. Bellamy’s organic snacks and cereals, including our Bellamy’s Apple Snacks, contain no added sugars.
Bellamy’s Organic Apple Snacks is100% pure unadulterated organic apple and nothing else. It is free of pesticides, colours, flavours and any other additives. As stated on the packaging, the product does not contain added sugar of any type.
We recognise this is a controversial topic because many people believe excess sugar intake is inextricably linked to the obesity epidemic; however, David Gillespie is mistaken to criticise the sugar content of the featured Bellamy’s product. He has reduced serious debate about a properly balanced diet down to oversimplified pseudo-science.
Almost all dieticians are constantly exhorting Australians, particularly children, to eat two pieces of fruit per day.
The sugar contained within the Bellamy’s Organic Apple Snacks is natural sugar and a scientifically recommended source of carbohydrate in everyone’s diet. The drying process that is used to make Bellamy’s Organic Fruit Snacks gently removes moisture from the Apple without destroying the flavour and nutrients.
Medical experts and most of the scientific community are in consensus that naturally occurring fruit sugar, (such as the fructose that is found in apples), as part of a balanced diet, has a positive effect on health.
Bellamy’s commenced making organic baby foods in 2004. We believe that babies and toddlers should eat food that is as pure and nutritionally sound as possible in order for them to have the best start to life.
Bellamy’s Organic Pty Ltd is disappointed that no representative of Channel 7 or Mr Gillespie contacted the company before the story was aired in order to clarify their position. Nor was anyone from Bellamy’s asked for an opinion of the misleading and inaccurate claims of Mr Gillespie.
If parents have any concerns and would like to discuss them with us, please contact us from 9am Tuesday 13th March.