Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gerber Dairy Beverage

Have you seen the website banner ads for Gerber's "dairy beverage?" Words like this always raise a red flag for me, never mind the fact that the three points highlighted in the banner ad include:
-Made with fat free milk!
-Omega-3 fats
-Vitamins and minerals

What does this mean?
1. The fat in milk is where the bulk of the nutrients are! Vitamins A and D (found in the FAT of milk, among other places) are crucial for growing babies and toddlers. Despite the fact that Gerber itself admits that one quarter (23%) of toddlers 12-24 months aren't getting the required daily intake of fats, Gerber still uses fat-free milk! Are parents really that afraid of the normal fats present in whole milk? Apparently so. Instead Gerber adds plenty of vegetable oils (UNHEALTHY!) to boost the fat content. Yuck! This is just like how they make their baby formula, too.
2. Omega-3 fats -- these are supplemented in some artificial way or other. Of course grass-fed full-fat raw milk would indeed provide some healthy omega-3 fats, but this isn't what this beverage contains. And as there are only 140mg of omega-3s per 8.25 oz. serving, this is barely anything even worth mentioning! A single yolk from a regular old egg would give 225mg. (Gee, which is the more cost-effective choice I wonder?) Oh yes, or you could also just breast feed your child as breast milk from an omnivorous mother is a good source of omega-3s (what an incredible idea!)
3. Vitamins and minerals -- Gerber's concoction is basically nutrient-less substances fortified with lots of synthetic supplements. Oh, and do I need to mention that the fourth ingredient (after fat-free milk, water, and maltodextrin, all yucky or unimpressive things) is SUGAR! So you can forget about this product actually providing nourishment to your growing toddler. (They did make a "plain" flavor without sugar as the fourth ingredient, but it has been discontinued. Probably was too gross to be appealing to kids; the sugar is needed to mask all the vegetable oils and additives.)

The whole baby/toddler/child food industry really disgusts me. At least this Smart Sips dairy beverage is made with milk that does not contain rBGH. That is the only positive thing I can say about this preposterous product.

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