Homemade baby food just as toxic as store-bought
In a shocking report 2019 by Healthy babies A bright future (HBBF), researchers found that 95% of common store-bought baby foods were contaminated with toxic heavy metals. Research has shown that ingesting dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals, like those found in a similar 2021 Congressional investigation of popular baby foods, can lead to lifelong intelligence deficits. According to HBFF, children in the United States lose approximately 11 million IQ points from birth to 24 months due to dietary sources of lead and arsenic.
Many understandably worried parents have since poured their blood, sweat and tears into preparing their baby’s food at home. Kitchen gadgets and recipes have flourished, and many parents have been shamed into going “all organic”. But does it work? Does homemade baby food really save babies from harmful toxic metals? In short, no.
To find out if preparing baby food at home is beneficial, HBBF followed up on its 2019 report, now comparing the amounts of toxic metals in store-bought baby food versus homemade baby food. .
2022 report found toxic metals in 94% of store-bought baby food and 94% house purees and family brand foods.
The researchers were not surprised by this result. “We thought we would find heavy metals in all kinds of foods because they are ubiquitous contaminants in the environment.” Jane Houlihan, research director for HBBF, explained in an interview with CNN. “And that’s exactly what we found: heavy metals were in food in all sections of the store. What this says is that because the FDA sets standards for heavy metals in baby food, it needs to go beyond the baby food aisle.
Pediatricians confirm that buying organic food or even harvesting from your own garden will also not help reduce toxic metals. “It’s the soil and the water that are contaminated with arsenic and other heavy metals, so it doesn’t matter whether it’s organic or traditional farming methods,” said Mark Corkins, MD, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. CNN.
So what can parents do to reduce baby’s exposure to toxic metals? HBBF offers tips for parents to help give baby the best.
Six tips to reduce babies’ exposure to toxic heavy metals in their food
- Add variety. Serving the same food every day for a long time can concentrate one or more contaminants in a child’s diet. Alternate it with other healthy foods. A varied diet of healthy foods also ensures a healthy mix of nutrients.
- Serve regular meals and snacks. Meal skipping and fasting are linked to higher blood lead levels in children and greater lead absorption in adults. Serve regular meals to help reduce exposure.
- Choose iron-rich foods. Along with calcium, zinc and vitamin C, iron can help reduce toxic metals absorbed by the body. Among the many foods rich in these nutrients are beans and lentils, lean red meat, iron-fortified cereals, yogurt and cheese, leafy greens, citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi fruit and bell peppers.
- Avoid these four arsenic-contaminated rice foods. Avoid serving rice cakes, flaky baby snacks, brown rice without extra cooking water, and crispy rice cereal.
- More fruits, alternate vegetables. The fruits tested were low in heavy metals. Vegetables are essential every day, but some of the most nutritious, like carrots and sweet potatoes, contain more metals. Eat each less than per day, alternating with other vegetables.
- Make these five healthy exchanges. One: Iron-fortified oatmeal and multigrain infant cereal vs. rice cereal for less arsenic. Two: Frozen banana or chilled peeled cucumber on rice-based teething crackers for less arsenic. Three: Whole fruit and purees over fruit juice for the fiber and nutrient benefits. Four: Healthy low-metal snacks on puffs and rice cakes. Five: A variety of grains and white rice cooked in extra water, over rice cooked in just enough water, for less arsenic
Of the foods studied, the researchers found four foods to avoid completely, 14 safe foods to serve freely, and 22 to limit or rotate. Together, these foods make up HBBF’s 40 baby food menu. To see the menu below in more detail, you can read HBFF’s full report here.
If you lack the time and energy to create the perfect nutritional balance for your little one, you’re not alone. Check out these 8 baby food delivery services that will make mealtimes easier.