Can adults eat baby food pouches

Why Adults Shouldn't Eat Baby Food

Celebrities may give this diet fad more credit than it's due, but adults should steer clear of a baby food diet for several reasons.

By Kimberly Holland February 07, 2017

Credit: Credit: Vstock LLC/Getty

Celebrities have quite the knack for causing a stir when they release their "diet secrets," and this week is no different. Today, Girls writer and star Lena Dunham posted on Instagram her "Trump Diet." Dunham, a liberal stalwart, was facetiously remarking on how difficult she's found eating since the November election. Her tone is clearly joking, but tucked in the third entry is a shout out to baby food, an infamous celebrity diet trend.

Credit: Photo: Lena Dunham/Instagram

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Indeed, several celebrities tout baby food as their secret elixir for shedding pounds. Last summer, Camila Alves credited her flat stomach to two meals of baby food each day. She eats a more sensible dinner—a protein, black beans, and vegetables —but the actress and co-founder of baby food company Yummy Spoonfuls says she supplements her nutritional needs all day with pouches of squeezable food. Designer Hedi Slimane admitted to living on a diet of baby food to keep his super-slim physique, too.

What is the baby food diet? Why is it popular?

The idea is simple: replace two meals each day with several jars (or pouches) of baby food. A jar of baby food contains between 20 and 90 calories, so sticking to a low-calorie diet will still require downing several jars of pureed goo.

Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson gets a lot of the internet-(in)famous credit for this fad, but research reveals it's been around since the 1980s. Some advocates suggest eating about 14 jars of baby food throughout the day, then a dinner at night. Other "plans" suggest you only eat baby food. Truthfully, you won't find any hard and fast rules for the baby food diet because it's more of a myth than a medical regimen.

Can you lose weight with the baby food diet?

Absolutely. You can lose weight with just about any "diet" though, so don't give the baby food diet too much credit. In fact, it's  easy to understand why the baby food diet would be successful. You will need to eat a lot of baby food to maintain a normal calorie count each day, so if you can't keep up, you may miss your daily calorie goal. Eating fewer calories than needed for weight maintenance means you will start seeing pounds slip off. Each jar is small, so portion control isn't very difficult. And if you can stomach all the flavors (turkey and "gravy," anyone?), you also get a wide variety of flavorful options.

But with those "benefits" come a few harsh realities. You'll have to train your palate to find baby food tolerable. Many brands don't season their foods at all. A more mature palate is accustomed to salt, sugar, and fat, so removing those entirely will be quite a shock to your tongue. Likewise, adults are made to eat real food. Unlike babies, we have teeth and digestive systems that can handle chewable food.

A balance of fiber, protein, fat, and carbohydrates is essential to keeping your body running at optimal levels. If you exercise too, a diet of pureed produce is unlikely to meet your body's needs. You could soon find yourself feeling weak or worse, hangry. Meeting your daily nutritional requirements while eating two meals of pureed fruits and vegetables will be difficult, if not nearly impossible. If you use it for quick slim down prior to a big day (like a wedding or a party), know that you'll likely gain back all the weight you lost quickly once you return to solid food.


"Baby food is lacking adequate amounts of fiber, fat, and protein to sustain a healthy adult. This puréed, and often strained, food is created for babies with underdeveloped digestive systems," says Cooking Light assistant nutrition editor Jamie Vespa, MS, RD. "Keeping our digestive systems active by eating whole, nutrient-dense food is healthy for both our gut and our immune system. The 'baby food diet' is a gimmicky, unsustainable diet that should not be utilized by adults wishing for long-term results."

Bottom line: Like Dunham's advice to not follow her Trump Diet, we do not recommend you try the baby food diet. "It's nutritionally inadequate. I can't think of a single pro for an adult to eat baby food, unless their jaws are wired shut," Vespa says. Healthy adults should instead look to fill their plates with fiber, protein, fat, and carbohydrates and leave the jars of colorful glop to the young ones.

Adults, Please Stop Eating Baby Food Out of Squeeze Pouches

I'll admit it: the squeezy pouch of baby food is an amazing feat of technology. You've probably seen these shelf-stable, lightweight packets of puréed nutrients in the grocery store. Maybe you marveled at the product's ingenuity. Maybe you felt resentful that these squeezers weren't around when you were growing up and instead you were fed weird green goo from a plain old jar. Or maybe you decided that you weren't too old to get in on this pouchy action and bought a package of mango-applesauce to give it a try.

If you did, you'd be in good company. According to publications like Extra-Crispy, The Wall Street Journal, and The Kitchn, many grown-ups are buying—and consuming—these little packages of puréed fruits and vegetables. Like, on purpose.

That's right, adults are eating baby food. And they need to stop.

How to Freeze Baby Food Without Going Crazy

Don't get me wrong, these packaged baby foods are great for, you know, babies. On a family vacation last year when my then 6-month-old brother, Townes, was transitioning to solid food, the squeeze-y pouches played an invaluable role in keeping him happy and fed throughout the trip, whether we were at the hotel breakfast table or a fancy sushi restaurant or on the beach. Convenient, lightweight, readily available, these packets also usually contain some totally virtuous combination of fruits, vegetables, and the occasional whole grain. Every nutritional need you could have, perfectly sealed in a tiny, science-y, pouch. This is the eating of the future, right? I sure hope not.

The thing is, unlike Townes, you've fully learned how to masticate and ingest solid food. (And even Townes is well on his way these days, enjoying scrambled eggs and berries and lots of banana pancakes.) You have teeth and a jaw that unhinges for a reason. Congrats! Proud of you. Use the incredible set of resources afforded to you by nature. Rejoice in the pleasure of chewing delicious solid food—it's truly, in my opinion, one of the few true joys we're afforded on a daily basis.

Of course, there are plenty of situations and real medical conditions that make eating solid food difficult. But, in that case, there are also plenty of totally delicious foods you can make that are infinitely more delicious than weird tube goo. In fact, there are whole categories of food devoted to this: Soups! Smoothies! Ice cream and milkshakes! Mashed vegetables! All glorious, soft, liquified foods you—an adult—could happily enjoy instead of resorting to sucking room-temperature food out of a tube marketed to babies. In fact, these are actually some of my favorite foods. I used to almost look forward to getting my braces tightened so my mom would make me vichyssoise. Have vichyssoise, not tube goo. You're worth it.

Craving some food but too tired to chew? Try soup!

Hirsheimer & Hamilton

Is it possible for adults to eat baby food: benefits and harms

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Now we will talk about the benefits and harms of products made specifically for children. These include fruit and vegetable purees, juices and nectars, yoghurts and curds, cereals and various snacks for the little ones.

Pluses of baby food

No harmful ingredients

It is clear that baby food is made specifically for babies. Therefore, they do not add harmful additives, dyes, flavors, a lot of sugar and salt. Not a single ingredient in the composition should cause an allergy or any disorder in a baby - which means that such food is safe for an adult. Moreover, manufacturers are strictly looked after - all children's products undergo a thorough check, and only then they get on the shelves in stores. nine0013

Tasty and convenient

Children's curds, cereals and purees with a sweet fruity taste can easily replace high-calorie cakes and other "adult" desserts. Some may also like cookies in cute little packages.

Speaking of packaging. Kids are not physically able to eat a lot, so for them everything is laid out in small portions. And these jars and packaging are very convenient to take with you for a walk, to school or university.

Low Calorie

Children's fruit and vegetable purees, and in such tiny portions, are very, very few calories! Some stars even specifically switch to only baby food in order to lose weight. So, for example, did Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Ready to follow suit? Well, slow down. Now let's talk about why you shouldn't do this.

Disadvantages of baby food

Few essential nutrients

Yes, these tasty purees contain only useful things and nothing harmful. But do not forget that this is still baby food. That is, it is made specifically for babies - taking into account the peculiarities of digestion of young children. And the body of an adult, you know, is very different. An adult needs a lot more fiber and dietary fiber - otherwise problems with the intestines will begin. nine0013

Sometimes it's not so tasty

Taste is both a plus and a minus of baby food. Sweet foods really look like a delicious dessert, but mashed vegetables and meat? We are used to cooking with all sorts of spices, which will definitely not be in the composition of dishes from a jar. In general, "adult" and "children's" food is very different in taste. You can, of course, get used to eating baby food all the time . .. But why?

Is it useful or not?

There is nothing wrong with snacking on baby food occasionally. It can be quite healthy, tasty and without extra calories. But you definitely can’t replace all breakfasts, lunches and dinners with them - in this way you will deprive yourself of important components and harm your health. nine0013

Ekaterina Migacheva, Elena Bugay


  • Food
  • Healthy diet

Children's mixtures after a year: How to choose proper nutrition for the baby -

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After the first birthday is over, some parents remove strict restrictions from the children's menu in order to accustom the baby to adult dishes as soon as possible. As a rule, milk mixtures disappear first from the child’s menu. nine0070 Instead, the parents offer the baby cow's or goat's milk from the store. However, according to nutritionists, this is not the best option for a replacement. It is better not to give this product to children under 1.5 years of age. After all, special enzymes that promote the digestion and assimilation of whole milk, the body begins to produce only by 1.5 years.

The second common mistake parents make is continuing to feed their 1 year old second stage formula. But infant formula after 6 months (stage 2) is designed for the age of 6-12 months. After a year, they can no longer fully satisfy the child's need for nutrients. Only infant formulas after 12 months (stage 3) meet such requirements. Some manufacturers also produce infant formula after 18 months, on their packaging is the number "4". But in most companies, artificial milk formulas, which are recommended to be given after 1 year, are designed for ages from one to three years. nine0013

Parents should take into account that after a year the daily norm of dairy products is 400-600 ml. This includes not only milk formula, but also cottage cheese, kefir or yogurt. It is better not to exceed the recommended doses, since the absorption and digestion of dairy products gives a rather serious burden on the excretory and digestive systems.

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Supplement on demand

According to statistics, children often suffer from anemia after a year. 30% of them are found to be deficient in iron and calcium. Iodine, necessary for the formation of the thyroid gland and nervous system, depending on the region of residence, receives less than 20-75%. Almost 50% of children lack polyunsaturated fatty acids that affect the development of the brain and sensory organs, as well as vitamins B1, B6, C and D - active participants in all metabolic processes in the body. Considering that during this period the child begins to speak and walk, and his memory and coordination of movements are actively developing, such an imbalance can cause a lot of health problems. Why is the picture so sad? The need for valuable substances in babies aged one to three years is not met for several reasons. nine0013

  • First of all, during this period, children's appetite is very unstable, and the appearance of taste preferences and "food" whims only aggravates the situation.

  • Secondly, many non-adapted "adult" products sold in supermarkets and markets initially contain insufficient amounts of vitamins and mineral salts. The reason for this is the intensive technologies used in modern agriculture: they lead to a decrease in the nutritional value of vegetables, fruits and cereals. nine0013

However, there is a way out: mixtures of the “third formula” (or “third step”) are designed to correct the situation, designed for babies aged 1 to 3 years. They perform the same function as vitamin and mineral supplements, but this is far from their only benefit.

Big difference

The second and no less important mission of the "third formula" is to partially replace milk in the baby's diet. Recent studies have shown that this product should be introduced into the children's menu with great care. Everyone knows that up to 1.5 years it is not recommended for a child to give ordinary packaged and even more so whole milk. However, even at an older age, its dose must be strictly controlled. Moreover, the restriction must be imposed on both cow's and goat's milk. The main reason: both are low in vitamins and minerals. In addition, cow's milk contains an excess amount of protein. It takes a lot of fluid to process it, which greatly increases the load on the kidneys. There is less protein in goat milk, but there are still not enough useful substances in it. Products marked "Children's" are not able to solve the problem. Even despite the fact that some manufacturers enrich the composition of such milk with vitamins A, C and lactulose (a synthetic analogue of milk sugar), these measures are clearly not enough. The advantage of the "third formulas" is that they are balanced both in terms of the amount of valuable substances and the amount of protein. nine0013

In most mixtures, the main composition looks approximately the same, the percentage of substances, the composition of vitamins and minerals differ. A specific infant formula is always selected individually, since it is impossible to predict whether the child will like its taste, whether it will cause, for example, an allergic reaction.

Infant formula after 1 year may contain the following ingredients:

kristian sekulic/Getty Images

    Nucleotides are complex biological substances that play a key role in many biological processes. They have a beneficial effect on the intestinal microflora. Adults produce a lot of this substance, while children do not have enough. And it is possible to replenish stocks with the help of special nutrition. For crumbs that are often sick, nucleotides are especially necessary, because they strengthen the overall immunity.

  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 are unsaturated fatty acids that support brain and nervous system function, improve metabolism, and help fight allergic and inflammatory reactions. The former is rich not only in fish oil, but also in rapeseed and soybean oils, while the latter are found mainly in sunflower and corn. Omega-3 fatty acids include linolenic, eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids. To omega-6 fatty acids - linoleic acid. Docosahexaenoic acid (abbreviated as DHA on the labels) is actively involved in the formation of the brain and organs of vision, and has a positive effect on immunity. Eicosapentaenoic acid (abbreviated as EPA on the labels) ensures the normal functioning of the cardiovascular and immune systems, and regulates blood cholesterol levels. nine0013

  • Palm oil is included in infant formula because it contains palmitic acid. In human milk, it accounts for up to 25% of all lipids (fats). Palmitic acid is an antioxidant and helps the absorption of certain vitamins, and therefore, in a limited amount, its inclusion in the mixture is justified. In no country in the world is there a question about the exclusion of palm oil from infant formula. In addition, it simultaneously serves as a source of a number of saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids are needed by the child's body as a source of energy and for the construction of hormones and cell membranes. nine0070 It is worth talking about the dangers of palm oil only if it replaces other fats in “adult” products.

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