Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Depressing enlightenment



Signs like this make me so mad -- but I can't help but find it ironic and slightly humorous, too. It's just so ridiculous to think of all the people trying to feed their kids right when this is the best mainstream information out there -- not to mention the budgetary sacrifices that are often necessary to afford these "organic" and "natural" processed foods. If you haven't done so lately, try visiting the food department of a baby store. There is no better way of seeing just how firmly our entire food system is rooted in grains. On these shelves you will find almost no fat, and basically no quality protein. Instead, there will be only carbs, carbs, and more carbs -- most in the form of cereals, some in the form of processed-beyond-recognition starchy veggies and fruits. Since babies really only digest protein and fat well up until 1-2 years of age, this is truly a sad state of affairs. Fat is especially important -- even more so than protein, but yet there is NO FAT TO BE FOUND. Except the soybean oil in the formulas (which is an oil, not a fat, and harmful to boot in more ways than I care to discuss right now).

On this same big box-baby-store visit I picked up some Gerber's mashed bananas in a jar. The bananas have since been washed down the drain, but I felt the expenditure justified so I could get my hands on another small jar to add to our collection (for packing Ollie's meals to-go).

I sniffed the contents first and got only a chemical whiff of preservatives -- not even a banana-like smell! The label proved very enlightening. One jar of this "food" (which is one serving) contains 37 grams of carbs and 30 grams of sugars. HELLO?!?! How can a little person be expected to start life out eating this quantity of sweetness? This serving is equivalent to 7.5 teaspoons of sugar. And the amount of carbs is about half of what many adults should have in a day. So sad to think that this is a healthier food than many babies are starting out with. To add insult to injury, the label even proclaims the food to be microwavable. (Groan)

The ingredients are bananas, citric acid (a preservative), and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). One serving is supposed to provide 45% of the child's daily need for vitamin C. The label proved to be further enlightening (and hilarious):

"3rd Foods Bananas from Gerber is an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps your infant's body absorb iron when eaten with iron rich foods such as Gerber infant cereal."

So...basically the bananas are a vehicle for vitamin C (which has been ADDED), and the cereal is a vehicle for iron (which has also been ADDED), and while you're feeding your child these healthful foods which any pediatrician will recommend, you can rest assured they are also enjoying approximately 50 grams of carbohydrates. What was I just saying about how many adults would do well to limit carb intake to only 65-70 grams a day?

The nutrition facts on these labels might as well read "Juvenile diabetes and childhood food allergies with a side of synthetic vitamin compounds."

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