Family Magazine

13 Reasons Why Sugar and Salt is a Big NO for Babies Below 1 Year

By Sangeetha

When can you start giving your little one salt and sugar?

No salt and sugar? How can I give my baby bland and tasteless food?

Can babies have salt and can babies have sugar - 2 common questions a lot of moms are asking, let us find out shall we?

13 Reasons Why Sugar and Salt is a Big NO for Babies Below 1 Year

After I started my little one on semi solids, the lady who works at my house used to ask me why I wasn't adding any salt or sugar to her food. She kept saying, "The poor little thing, you keep giving her such bland tasteless food, that's why she doesn't gain weight." It wasn't just her, there was a long line of well-wishers who kept telling me the same thing.

Why do people give salt and sugar to their kids?

Why are these two used? To provide flavor. As simple as that.

When moms see that their little ones aren't eating food, they arrive at a common conclusion. The food is bland - and thus salt and sugar enter the scene.

But in reality babies wouldn't know the difference between a gourmet meal and a food that is a threat to the taste buds, because they are yet to learn that. Then there are the elders who advice you on the many 'benefits' of salt and sugar. Thus most of us end up believing that our tots need salt and sugar too, just like us.

13 Reasons Why Sugar and Salt is a Big NO for Babies Below 1 Year
Daily requirement of salt and sugar in baby's diet:
  • Salt - Babies need just about 1 gm (0.4 gm of Sodium) till their 1st birthday. In the case of babies who are being fed salt, they end up consuming way more than what is required by their bodies.
  • Sugar - The sugar needs of the baby can be met by carbohydrates and naturally sweet food.

13 Reasons to avoid sugar and salt in your infant's diet:

Mentioned below are the 13 reasons why salt and sugar can do more harm than good to your little munchkin.

#1. Bad eating habits later Contributing factor - Salt and Sugar
13 Reasons Why Sugar and Salt is a Big NO for Babies Below 1 Year

I operate by the philosophy that, you can't control your kid's eating habits throughout their life, so ensure they eat healthy when you can control it.

It is up to us to ensure that we teach them the right practices so that they follow it later too.

Kids who grow up having a high salt and sugar diet are bound to like it as adults too, that in turn will lead to a host of lifestyle diseases.

#2. Not know the taste of vegetables Contributing factor - Salt and Sugar {sometimes}

Have you ever seen one of those cookery shows like the Masterchef (US or Australian version) and wondered how you can ever eat bland vegetables? Sautéed carrots and peas? Most of us Indians would rather have carrot halwa and peas masala. Why? because our taste buds have already been used to the overload of salt, sugar and masalas.

So when you start feeding your child a no salt no sugar diet, he or she learns to appreciate and acquire a taste for veggies.

#3. Kids might reject breast milk Contributing factor - Salt and Sugar

While we still are at the topic of acquired tastes, let me tell you one thing. Some kids end up liking food with salt and sugar so much that they start to avoid breast milk. Now I don't have to particularly remind of its consequences.

#4. Kidney overload Contributing factor - Salt

As mentioned before babies require very less amount of salt daily. The required amount of sodium comes from breast milk or formula.

If you give the child any more than the amount necessary as per his age, you will end up putting too much pressure on his kidneys that are not equipped for this type of pressure.

A lot of us end up giving babies salt, without realizing the amount of sodium that is involved.

#5. Kidney stones Contributing factor - Salt

Too much sodium in the diet could lead to excess calcium excretion by the kidneys which in turn causes kidney stones. Now for the people who know how painful it is, do you really want to subject your kid to that?

Contributing factor - Salt

Children who start off consuming salt early are at a higher risk of having hypertension as adults, especially if it runs in the family.

#7. Dehydration Contributing factor - Salt

Salt can lead to dehydration, so too much of salt can prove to be really harmful.

Babies won't be able to tell you that they are feeling thirsty and not just them, even toddlers might not realise that they are dehydrated till it's too late.

#8. Osteoporosis Contributing factor - Salt

Higher consumption of salt leads to more calcium leaving the body. Apart from kidney stones this can lead to Osteoporosis.

As you know osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become thin and brittle. Controlling salt intake in their early years can actually reduce the risk of them getting affected by this disease.

#9. Obesity Contributing factor - Sugar

Excess sugar and obesity go hand in hand. A high sugar diet means too much calories, and even though your baby is active, it might be way beyond her required amount. All the unburned calories lead to excessive weight gain. Let me remind you mommies, a fat baby is not a healthy baby.

#10. Diabetes Contributing factor - Sugar

Excess sugar consumption can raise the risk of having diabetes (mostly type 2) later in life.

#11. Tooth decay Contributing factor - Sugar
13 Reasons Why Sugar and Salt is a Big NO for Babies Below 1 Year

Giving sugar to babies will lead to tooth decay. There is nothing more wonderful than watching your child smile at you flashing his pearly whites, but this might soon be a thing of the past as more and more kids have stubs for teeth and more cavities than the medals on a war veteran.

#12. Sluggishness Contributing factor - Sugar

Too much sugar in the bloodstream might cause an increased production of insulin which then leads to a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, which makes your baby feel sluggish.

#13. Hyperactivity Contributing factor - Sugar

While experts are debating whether sugar can actually cause hyperactivity, many moms say that this is true.

Too much of sugary treats can lead to a sugar high that may cause your kid to bounce of the walls and end up with you wanting to pull your hair out.

13 Reasons Why Sugar and Salt is a Big NO for Babies Below 1 Year
How to make the tasty baby food without salt and sugar?

Still feeling guilty about eating tasty food and being unable to feed your baby some? Here are some of the natural sweeteners available for your baby

    Naturally sweet fruits and vegetables
13 Reasons Why Sugar and Salt is a Big NO for Babies Below 1 Year

This not only helps to add flavor but also can be used to introduce various foods and textures to your baby. Vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and fruits like pear, apples etc can impart sweetness to baby food.

Examples: apple sauce, fruit purees etc

Soak 3 to 4 dates in warm water. Strain the soaked dates to get the rich sweet pulp along with the warm water. Use this dates puree in porridges, kheer and anything you would like to give your 8 months and above baby.

A natural source of iron, store bought organic jaggery can sweeten the porridges and kheer of your 8m+ baby.

Grind all dry fruits into a fine powder. Use this mix in porridges, khichdis and other baby foods. Ideally nuts should be given to babies of 10 months and above only.

You can also refer to the

  • Do not give processed food to babies as they can contain high amounts of salt
  • Avoid honey for children under one year. Read the article Can I Give Honey To My Baby? to know more.

Hope this article on why salt and sugar is a BIG no to babies until 1 year was informative.

Mommies, were you advised to give sugar and salt to your baby?

Do/did you add sugar and salt in your infant's food?

What all do you add to make your baby's food tasty, do let us know so that we can try it out too.

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