Rice Baby Food Under Fire For Allegedly Causing Obesity

Rice baby food under fire for allegedly causing obesity Pediatricians have recommended rice cereal for decades, as a baby's first solid food. It’s easy on the tummy and gluten free, so baby is less likely to have an allergic reaction. But there is now a campaign against it.

"Do you want some more?" Carrie Plastow is helping her eight month old daughter Lydia adjust to solid foods. Her mom says she started, like most American moms, with rice cereal. "This is recommended by everyone, but doctors, by dieticians, by the WIC program, by everybody."

Dr. Alan Greene, a pediatrician from Stanford University is fighting the recommendation. He has started the “white out” campaign. He says he has studied nutrition for ten years and is certain there is a link between rice cereal to the national epidemic of overweight children. "I have become convinced that white rice cereal can predispose to childhood obesity."

He says rice cereal is the first step toward the obesity epidemic because it's high calorie, and made of white rice, and white flour. He says it’s no better than feeding babies spoons full of sugar. Julie Metos, a registered dietician, and instructor in the University of Utah’s Nutrition Department says the rice cereal is not the culprit, overfeeding is. "The best thing is to watch for your child's cues and not to over feed them, because over feeding is linked with obesity, rice cereal not so much."

Metos says rice cereal is a first choice as a learning food for a reason. "Rice cereal is a good first food because of its texture; and so that infants can use their tongue to bring the food back into their mouths." She says it's not the only possibility. "We do recommend that around four to six months you do start feeding your child so they can get the developmental skills, but what you start with is very much cultural rather than scientific." She says starting with vegetables or fruits is also acceptable. She says most other baby cereals on the market are also low allergy risk.

Metos says it is important diversify a baby’s diet. She says parents should introduce foods slowly to test for allergic reactions, and reach for whole foods as a first choice. But no matter how good the solid food choice, it’s not going to be as good at preventing childhood obesity as one food in particular. "Breast milk is actually the one food we know in infancy that is linked to obesity prevention."

Nutrition experts recommend breast feeding for the first year of life, they also say any cereals given to infants should be mixed with breast milk if possible, to boost the baby's immune system and provide the nutrition needed.
Source: http://www.abc4.com/content/news/slc/story/Rice-baby-food-under-fire-for-allegedly-causing/tEgYbur44kia8mRbDj3bKg.cspx