Acid Added to Baby Food Jars Contributes to Infant Acid Reflux Issues

by , 04/27/10

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It’s no secret that jarred baby food, even the organic variety, is far from perfect. Last year the Children’s Food Campaign discovered that a vast majority of jarred baby food, (including baby food from many top-notch organic brands), contains extra trans fat, sugar and sodium your baby doesn’t need — not to mention the BPA found in the metal lids of glass jars of baby food. Now, like a cherry on a very unhealthy cake, Dr. Jamie Koufman and Dr. Jordan Stern, authors of The Reflux Diet Cookbook, have found that some conventional and organic baby food companies add acids to their jarred baby food as a preservative. Added acid like citric acid, ascorbic acid and even folic acid can increase the acidity in your baby’s diet and thus may result in increased incidents of baby reflux. Yikes! Read on to see which baby food brands and jarred baby foods tested highest in their acid levels…

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Acids in baby food:

The authors of The Reflux Diet Cookbook tested 30 various jars of baby foods, including fruit, vegetables, pasta, meat, and starches for added acids using pH measurements, and they were surprised to find many baby foods came in with a pH of 4 and under. The authors recommend that, “Babies generally be fed foods with a pH of greater than 5. Having more acidic food is sometimes okay, but not as part of a regular diet” because it may increase the susceptibility to acid reflux, and furthermore, acids are not a natural or healthy additive. Another point is that many foods, such as apples, are already highly acidic, so adding extra acids just doubles the problem.

Some of the foods tested that were more acidic than necessary due to added acids included: Earth’s Best Organic First Apples; Gerber Green Beans; Beech Nut Rice Cereal and Apples with Cinnamon; Earth’s Best Organic Pears & Mangos; Beech Nut Pears & Raspberries; Gerber Apple Blueberry and more. See a complete list of all baby food tested (pdf).

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3 Responses to “Acid Added to Baby Food Jars Contributes to Infant Acid Reflux Issues”

  1. UlrikeDG says:

    Babyfood, like bottled water, is an example of manufactured demand. You don’t need to buy or even make “babyfood”. If you wait until a baby is ready to eat *food*, that food doesn’t need to be pureed or liquefied before consumption. Signs that indicate baby is developmentally ready for solids include:

    * Baby can sit up well without support.
    * Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of his mouth with his tongue.
    * Baby is ready and willing to chew.
    * Baby is developing a “pincer” grasp, where he picks up food or other objects between thumb and forefinger. Using the fingers and scraping the food into the palm of the hand (palmar grasp) does not substitute for pincer grasp development.
    * Baby is eager to participate in mealtime and may try to grab food and put it in his mouth.

    Once your baby is truly ready for solids, you can simply share your own healthy food off your plate.

    KellyMom.com has lots of good info about breastfeeding and starting solids. http://kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/solids-when.html

  2. wean green says:

    Great post! I am always so shocked to find out what happens to commercial baby food. Our company has GLASS BABY FOOD CONTAINERS for parents that make their own baby food and want to ensure it stays fresh and pure with no chemicals (or acids!). http://www.weangreen.com

  3. married2mrwright says:

    UlrikeDG, I couldn’t agree more! We’ve done Baby Led Solids (aka Baby Led Weaning) with my daughter since she was 6 months old. She’s exclusively breastfed and at 6 months old we began offering her age-appropriate foods from our plates. Now, at 13 months she’s quite an adventurous eater and we are not serving her separate, “kids meals.” Friends and family are amazed that she loves mushrooms and asparagus. I guess those are not “typical” veggies for babies or kids to eat or like, but they’re two of her favorites! Skipping purees was healthy and budget-friendly…I don’t know why more parents don’t do it.

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