New paleo diet friendly baby food could hinder child development, experts warn

Does a paleo diet give a baby everything they need? [Photo: Pexels]
Does a paleo diet give a baby everything they need? [Photo: Pexels]

Creators of a new paleo diet friendly baby food line are facing criticism after experts have expressed concern that it could hamper children’s development.

Paleo dieter and advocate, Serenity Heegel, co-founded Serenity Kids after struggling to find baby food that she considered nutritious enough for her child.

A paleo diet, based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, is largely made up of meat, fish and vegetables, but excludes dairy and processed foods.

Which means Serenity Kids pureed baby food contains higher meat content than similar products on the market, with this month’s product launches including ‘uncured bacon with organic kale and butternut squash’ and ‘chicken with peas and carrots’.

They’re also soy-free, gluten-free, grain-free and organic.

But experts have warned that having a child follow such a diet could mean they miss out on nutrients crucial to their development.

“There’s no research that shows a child needs a high protein diet,” Stephanie Di Figlia-Peck, a registered dietitian at Northwell Health, told Moneyish.

“A child who’s growing and developing needs a balance of carbohydrates that come from fruits, vegetables and grains; protein and healthy fat.”

She added: “There needs to be a balance so you get the correct nutrient profile.”

Serenity Heegel, CEO of Serenity Kids, said:

“The nutrition content of our pouches is enough that it could be a complete, standalone meal when a parent needs one.

“Many of the health professionals who contacted us are thrilled that parents will have a savory, less sweet option for their children – they say that vegetables and clean meats are the foundation of a healthy diet for babies.

“We have never advocated a ‘high-protein diet for babies’. We agree that the science is clear that infants do not need a lot of protein.

“The USDA recommends a daily minimum of 12 grams of protein, and 30 grams of fat daily for infants. Carb content of our pouches ranges from 9-11 grams, protein ranges from 4-5 grams, and fat is 5-8 grams.

“The marketplace contains an abundance of baby food pouches containing sugary fruits, grains, legumes, and dairy. Serenity Kids is filling the market gap by adding options for parents who want to feed high-quality meat and vegetables to their baby.”

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