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This post appeared here for Paleo on the Go

 

There’s been quite a lot of controversy over the FDA’s proposal to limit the amount of arsenic in rice cereals for babies.

HOLD THE PHONE, THE FDA APPROVED ARSENIC IN BABY FOOD?

Wait a minute, there’s arsenic in rice cereal? Not only that, it’s more prevalent in rice than other grains because half of the arsenic comes from the water it’s farmed in. Like all the minerals in our food it starts with the soil that the plants are grown in that we eat, as well as the animals we eat, eat. Before you go and reach for the ‘healthier’ alternative, brown rice, think twice. Brown rice has even more arsenic than white rice! The reason? Arsenic is found in the husks that have been polished off of rice to make it white! This should make you question not only what is healthy rice, but should my baby even be consuming rice?

OUR BIGGEST MISTAKE WHEN CHOOSING FOODS FOR OUR INFANT:

Perhaps one of the biggest and most frightening crimes against young infants by pediatricians, food marketers, and parents everywhere is the recommendation that young infants should be eating rice cereals or other grains. Sure when it comes to Paleo, grains are an absolute no. no. However, when it comes to babies, if you’re Paleo or not, there’s no argument. Grains lack the crucial nutrients babies need for this time in their lives when they grow more than any other. In addition, infants are also functionally grain intolerant. These and other contemporary first baby foods, challenge your infants developing digestive, immune and brain health.

Simply put, your baby is not ready to digest grains. He does produce the enzyme lactose to break down milk sugars from mom’s milk; however, he doesn’t make other enzymes to digest additional carbs yet. These additional enzymes include, salivary amylase, which makes a small appearance at about 6 months old.  However, pancreatic amylase (what you need to actually digest grains) is not produced until molar teeth are fully developed around 13-19 months. So it’s not until nearly three years of age that your infant turned toddler will have a more complete set of carb digesting enzymes.

 

HOW SHOULD THE FDA’S CALL TO LIMIT ARSENIC EFFECT PARENTS?

The FDA campaign to limit arsenic in rice cereal should be the warning sign parents need to take a step back when feeding any grains to our babies. Remember your infant is unable to digest it until age three. This means any undigested grains they are fed can wreak havoc on their intestinal lining. The human body is designed to make use of any nutrition it’s given, but feeding babies grains could lead to it seeping through the intestinal walls, opening them further and leading toig to lots of complications as they age including: food allergies, behavioral problems, mood issues, and more.

Then consider that if you feed your baby cereal or other grains, you’re doing more than simply sticking them with an indigestible food: you’re feeding them an indigestible food in place of something more nutrient-dense. You’re feeding them something their body can’t really use and starving them of the nutrients they need to grow a healthy brain, nervous system, and bone structure.

 

THE SOLUTION TO ARSENIC RICE CEREAL

If grains don’t cut it what do you feed him? Ideally your baby’s first foods will contain protein, fat, cholesterol and plenty of absorbable iron and zinc – just like moms milk. Such nutrients are only found altogether in only one type of food – animal source foods like beef, lamb, organ meat, eggs, poultry and fish. According to Nutrition in Pediatrics – basic science clinical applications ‘incorporating animal source foods is often the only way to supply (adequate) nutrients thru natural foods’. AAP likewise states ‘puréed meats are good first foods because they contain ample protein iron and zinc’. Animal foods are the perfect first foods for babies. Think about it this way, mom’s milk is actually your baby’s first animal food; follow the pattern and give your baby the healthiest life possible.

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