Why Sugar and Salt is a Big NO for Babies Below 1 Year?

Salt and sugar are used as flavour enhancers in our food, but excessive consumption of both of them can lead to serious health problems in adults and children. 

Daily Requirement of Salt and Sugar in a Baby’s Diet

According to various health organisations data, babies should not be given any salt until six months of age. Their sodium needs are met by the salt contained in breast milk. Moreover, 6 months to 1 year old babies should be given no more than 1 gram of salt per day, which contains 0.4 grams of sodium. 

Reasons to avoid adding Sugar and Salt in Your baby’s Diet

  1. Kidney Stones: Excess sodium from salt can also cause the body to excrete more calcium in the urine which can form kidney stones. Kidney stones cause symptoms such as severe pain in the body, fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, and blood in the urine.
  2. High Blood Pressure: Babies who consume too much salt can develop hypertension as adults as excess salt intake can cause high blood pressure. 
  3. The Danger of Dehydration: Excess salt in a baby’s body can result in dehydration, as salt causes the body to lose water in the form of urine and sweat. 
  4. Brittle Bones: Too much salt consumption causes increased sodium levels in the body which in turn, causes excretion of too much calcium which is essential for the development of strong bones resulting in osteoporosis which makes the bones thin and brittle.
  5. Rejecting Breast Milk: If babies begin to like the taste of salt and sugar, they may avoid or reject breast milk which contains several vital nutrients essential for the baby’s growth and development.
  6. Tooth Decay: Consuming excessive amounts of added sugars can cause painful cavities and tooth decay.

The recommended Salt Requirement for babies, toddlers, and children

O-6 months

< 1 g (0.4g of sodium)

6-12 months

< 1 g (0. 4g of sodium)

1-3 years

2 g (0.8g of sodium)

4-6 years

3 g (1.2g of sodium)

7-10 years

5 g ( 2 g of sodium)

>11 years

6 g (2.4 g of sodium)


How to add flavour to the baby’s food without adding salt or sugar?

A baby has never tasted salt and will therefore not feel that the food is bland. Moreover, food can be made flavourful without the addition of salt by adding spices such as cumin powder, cinnamon, and herbs like coriander and mint that can flavour the food and enhance the taste. Herbs must be thoroughly washed and finely chopped before introducing into the baby’s diet only after seven months of age. Spices should also be added in minute quantities, and new foods should be introduced slowly to avoid any allergic reactions. 

Naturally sweet substances can be used as sugar substitutes which includes any fruit puree, date syrup, and honey. However, date syrup and honey should not be given to babies below 1year of age as it could lead to choking.

When to start adding salt and sugar in baby’s food?

You can start introducing salt to your baby only after one year of age or can limit it to less than 1 gram per day for babies older than six months. But giving sugar to infants less than one year of age is a big NO. Baby foods do not require added sugars instead you can always go for natural sugar substitutes like fruit puree, date syrup or honey. 

Salt and sugar can do more harm than good for babies, it is better to avoid them at least until the baby turns one. Processed foods contain high amounts of salt and hence, should be avoided. Always check ingredients before buying commercial baby foods because they may also contain added sugars. Try to provide your kid with healthy homemade food without added salt or sugar.

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