Fats and Sugars in Organic Baby Biscuits and Snacks – Some Thoughts

Baby waiting for his food - sent in by a customer

Baby waiting for his food - sent in by a customer

Following recent news headlines relating to the levels of fats and sugars in common brands of baby foods such as finger foods, biscuits and snacks, I thought I would give my initial reactions followed by some nutritional information on the Holle range of organic finger foods for babies.

I strongly believe that babies and young children deserve to be given wholesome foods that nurture both their body and soul. Because of the age of babies and children we are talking about here, it is imcumbent on their parents to provide such foods – young babies are entirely dependent on us for all their needs.

The Ulula Ethos

The Ulula ethos regarding the baby foods we chose to sell is only to supply foods that:

  • Are certified to high organic or Demeter standards;
  • Are guaranteed to contain no genetically modified ingredients;
  • Have no added processed sugar;
  • Have no added salt (unless absolutely essential for a baking process)
  • Contain no hydrogenated/trans fats;
  • Contain no added flavourings;
  • Contain no added colourings;
  • Contain no added preservatives.
  • Are produced using the gentlest cooking methods available for that food type

We only want to supply foods that have a place in helping parents feed their babies wholesome and nurturing foods.

Not All Organic Baby Foods Are Equal

With many things in life, not everything we buy is of an equally high standard – baby food is no exception. Disappointingly, not even all organically certified baby foods are of the same standard. I don’t believe it is good business practice for me to identify individual companies here but I am so confident in the Holle baby foods that I recommend you  just compare the contents and quality with anything else you can buy.

So, What About the Fats?

The Children’s Food Campaign report identified a number of baby biscuits and snacks that contain high amounts of  fats. Some baby finger foods have been reported as having a higher proportion of fats and saturated fats than many ‘junk foods’.

While there are recommended maximum nutritional guidelines for dietary saturated fat content for men (30g), women (20g) and children aged 5 to 10 (also 20g), there is actually no maximum recommended level for infants – they naturally need more fat in their diet than adults because they are growing and need a higher intake of energy.

Foods though are said to be high in saturated fat if they contain more than 5g of saturates per 100g. Foods containing 1.5g or less per 100g are said to be low in saturated fat.

How Holle Baby Snacks and Finger Foods Compare

A number of other brands of  popular baby biscuits were mentioned by the Children’s Food Campaign. The report itself did not mention the Holle range, but I am very happy to provide the nutritional information:

As for the sugar content of each, that is as follows:

Holle Organic Baby Spelt Biscuit

Holle Organic Baby Spelt Biscuit

So, What Do These Figures Mean?

On the face of it, the Holle biscuits could be seen as a high fat, high sugar snack. But the issue really is not as simple as this and we need to put these figures into context.

Entirely breastfed infants take more than 50% of their energy from fat, since mother’s milk is very rich in fat. The fat composition of a mother’s milk is special – about 52% of the fats are saturated fatty acids. Breastfed babies are not in danger of having a raised cholesterol level or even at risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Following this natural ideal of mother’s milk, is the reason why Holle infant formulas and some other infant products are also rich in fat as well as being rich in saturated fatty acids. It is also recommended to enrich nearly fat free infant foods, such as vegetable and fruit meals as well as milk free grain based meals, with small amounts of oil or butter.

The Holle Organic Baby Spelt Biscuits contain pure butter from biodynamically raised cows as a fat source. Butter has a spectrum of fatty acids similar to a mother’s milk fat, and contains very easily digestible short and medium chain fatty acids. Butter in infant nutrition is not a bad ingredient – It is easily digested and has the right fat composition.

As for the sources of sugar, Holle uses only molasses of rice and banana as mild natural sweeteners in their baby biscuits. This way they avoid the need for processed, crystallised sugars that have been stripped of essential micro-nutrients.

Consider Your Baby’s Overall Diet

It is important to consider a baby’s overall daily diet. Babies from six months are either breastfed or having a baby milk or formula and are generally weaning. Such snacks as the baby biscuits or the baby rusks should be seen by parents as one part of this increasingly varied food mix.  A weaning baby that is fed on Holle organic baby foods will receive a diet that is well balanced and is nutritionally based on the developmental needs of infants of this age.

Of course, if parents choose to feed their baby excessive amounts of any one food the nutritional intake of the baby may become unbalanced. As with so much in parenting, we need to listen to our intuition and tune ino our baby’s needs.

Ulula Recommends

As usual, I recommend you use your common sense when thinking about the issues raised. Carry on feeding and weaning your baby according to your existing plan and let your common sense guide you as to how you supplement that with both the rusks and biscuits.

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