Why sugar is best avoided until age one?
The recommendation to avoid giving sugar to infants until they are at least one year old is based on several reasons:
- Taste preferences: Introducing sugar to an infant's diet can create a preference for sweet flavors. Babies are born with a natural preference for sweetness, and early exposure to sugary foods or beverages can lead to a preference for sweet tastes later in life. This may result in the consumption of excessive amounts of sugar, which can increase the risk of developing unhealthy eating patterns, dental cavities, and other health issues.
- Nutritional needs: Breast milk or infant formula provides all the necessary nutrients, including carbohydrates in the form of natural sugars, that an infant needs during the first year of life. The addition of additional sugar is not necessary and may disrupt the balance of their nutritional intake.
- Risk of infant botulism: Some forms of sugar, such as honey, maple syrup, and corn syrup, may carry a risk of infant botulism. Infant botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a bacterial toxin that can grow in the intestines of infants. The immature digestive system of infants may not be able to handle these types of sugars properly, leading to an increased risk of developing infant botulism, which can cause muscle weakness, breathing difficulties, and other severe health problems.
- Healthy eating habits: It's important to establish healthy eating habits from an early age. Avoiding added sugars in a baby's diet during the first year of life can help promote a preference for natural flavors and encourage the consumption of a variety of healthy foods. It can also help set a foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
Overall, introducing sugar to an infant's diet can create a preference for sweet flavors and potentially lead to overconsumption of sugary foods and beverages later in life. This can increase the risk of developing unhealthy eating patterns, dental cavities, and other health issues.
Breast milk or infant formula already contains natural sugars that are sufficient for an infant's nutritional needs. Additionally, it's important to avoid adding any form of added sugars, such as honey or maple syrup, to an infant's diet until they are at least one year old, as it may pose a risk of infant botulism, a serious and potentially life-threatening illness.
Also, check out why no salt to be given to infants till 1 year