Sugar for babies may seem the norm, but is it really healthy? Well, of course I don’t advocate for refined sugar at any age but I want to share with you two reasons why waiting to introduce sugar to babies can be very beneficial. This actually goes for all sugars and sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, stevia, monk fruit etc.
While sugar is generally recommended as safe at one year of age, research is coming out that if you wait until two years old it is even better for babies.
The first reason is because this helps their blood sugar handling system (specifically their pancreas and liver) be stronger and more resilient to sugar, preventing diabetes and cardiovascular issues. You may wonder why stevia or monk fruit would not be recommended since it has a zero-glycemic index? Well, interestingly they still train the palate to prefer sweet flavors, which leads us to our second reason.
The second reason is because it will help parents introduce a variety of flavors during those first 1-2 years before babies only want something sweet!
This can be tricky if you are feeding your baby/toddler anything packaged because there are SO many “names” for sugar so companies can hide sugar into their products. Next week, I will share an article with the common names for sugar!
So, parents, I encourage you to give your 1-2 year old babies a variety of fruit, along with other wonderful vegetables, fats, and proteins. Fruit does have natural fructose but because of the fiber and water content it is much gentler on our blood sugar. And it is not training babies to prefer that heighted sweet flavor when in combination with other flavors: salty, sour, bitter, savory. Interestingly, babies will all prefer sweet and salty. So the earlier you introduce the sour, bitter and savory foods the better!
This is an exciting time for babies to explore flavors and textures and develop a love for real nourishing food!
For more information and research on this topic, check out https://solidstarts.com/foods/sugar/