What is the Baby Food Diet?
The Baby Food Diet is so new there are no books or comprehensive guidelines to provide details on how it works or how to follow it. It’s considered a celebrity diet, designed by trainers to the stars for their star clients. It allows dieters to curb their food cravings, eat on the run, and lose weight quickly.
You can choose from a number of versions of the Baby Food Diet. You can replace snacks and one or two meals a day with jarred baby food. Or you can just replace snacks with baby food. In theory you could replace all your meals with baby food, but most proponents of this diet recommend eating one regular, adult meal each day—plus 14 four-ounce jars of baby food.
The idea behind the Baby Food Diet is that you stay satisfied with less food. Because the food is so bland and unappealing, you do not overeat. And because you do not overeat, you lose weight. Some consider it a type of cleanse or detox.
About the Baby Food
Following the baby food diet should result in taking in fewer calories and therefore losing weight. However, not all baby food has the same calorie content, so you have to choose carefully or you will wind up with too many calories. Take a look at the calorie content of some of the most popular baby foods (calories are approximate for one 3.5-4 ounce serving):
- Gerber or Beechnut applesauce: 60
- Gerber or Beechnut bananas: 112
- Gerber beef with vegetables: 67
- Earth’s Best organic winter squash: 40
- Earth’s Best organic or Gerber pears: 80
- Beechnut, Gerber, or Heinz green beans: 28
- Heinz organic lamb with vegetables: 75
- Heinz apricots: 80
- Heinz banana/grape/plum: 120
You can see from this short list that 14 jars of baby food can range from a low of 392 calories a day to high of 1,680 calories a day. You have to read labels carefully so you can be aware of your calorie intake. Unfortunately, the Baby Food Diet does not advise followers on how many calories they should get from the baby food and how much from the one real meal.
You also have to be careful about additives. Many people mistakenly believe that baby food does not contain any preservatives or other additives. The fact is that some baby food does have additives and preservatives. If you want to take advantage of the no additives and no preservatives claims of Baby Food Diet advocates, you need to read the labels carefully.
The good news is that baby food is full nutrients and tends to be low in fats, sugar, and salt. You also have a huge variety of foods to choose from, which can help you from getting bored with this diet.
Benefits of the Baby Food Diet
Baby food is readily available and convenient. It does not need refrigeration. You don’t even need a lunch bag. You can easily carry it with you and eat it wherever you are.
Because the food is so bland most people are not tempted to overeat. There is a tremendous amount of variety in the types of baby food available.
You can choose gluten free and organic baby foods, and you can certainly stick to a vegetarian diet.
Portion control is easy.
Concerns about the Baby Food Diet
Baby food has the nutrients that babies need; it doesn’t meet the nutritional needs of adults. Baby food lacks adequate fiber, calcium, and vitamin D and is too low in the healthy fats adults need.
Depending on your choices, you could find yourself with a dangerously low calorie intake. Too few calories can slow down your metabolism, which slows down weight loss. Not getting enough calories can also trigger eating disorders. In addition, it can affect your blood sugar, causing spikes that lead to hunger and binge eating.
Chewing contributes to the feeling of fullness. Pureed food may leave you feel unsatisfied and hungry.
The Baby Food Diet does not teach dieters about healthy eating, portion control, preparing food, or meal planning. There is no exercise component to the diet, nor is there a plan for long-term weight maintenance.
The Baby Food Diet lacks guidance about what types of baby food to eat, what to expect on the diet, how to eat a balanced diet on baby food, how to transition in and out of the diet, and other important diet issues. For example, from the available information it is unclear if followers are to eat 14 jars of baby food in place of some or all meals or snacks. If you eat one real meal, do you need to eat 14 jars of baby food a day? Where did the magic number of 14 come from?
Plus, no scientific studies support the claims of the diet. The long-term risks and benefits of the diet are not known.
This is an extremely restricted diet, which makes it unsustainable for more than a very limited amount of time.
In considering the Baby Food Diet, nutrition experts point out that any diet that limits calories is likely to result in weight loss. Most nutritionists recommend that people who want to lose weight choose a more balanced and less restrictive diet. They recommend a healthy diet–high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein—plus regular exercise and healthy eating habits. On the other hand, most experts agree that a few days on the Baby Food Diet can do no harm for most people.
As with all diets, it’s a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider before embarking on the Baby Food Diet, especially is you take medications or have serious health problems.