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Phoebe Talks Weaning

Episode 9

Oh Sugar baby, tips and tricks to avoid refined sugar

Episode 9 of "Phoebe talks weaning" podcast is about sugar and baby feeding. Did you know that there are over 50 different names for sugar?

Sugar is incredible at playing hide and seek! In this episode, I’ll share some tips on how to replace refined sugar, what to look out for on labels and why some healthy alternatives like dried fruit can also pose a sugar trap. The bottom line is, consume all sweetness in moderation, even if the source is natural.

Show Notes

NHS Sugar Facts

World Health Organisation Guideline: sugars intake for adults and children

Honey vs sugar

Dried Fruit


Sugar, it’s everywhere and most dangerous when it’s hiding behind names that we aren’t familiar with.

Hidden names of added sugar

Anything ending in -ose is sugar, syrup, molasses and honey also join the club. While it is near impossible to avoid it all together, it is good to have an understanding of it and make informed decisions on the products we buy. It’s also worth pointing out that sugars not only loom in sweet groceries. Foods we tend to think of as savoury, like ketchup and salad cream, are top of the list when it comes to sugar content!

Many baby jars and pouches, although they might be savoury, have added apple juice to enhance the taste so it’s easier accepted by babies and small children. But this topic is another podcast in itself…

Know your ingredients

I personally try to avoid ready made snacks and goods wherever possible, as I like to know exactly what is in my food. Being a person who likes a treat, I usually try to find other ways of making delicacies that are equally as tasty as the off the shelf version, but a bit healthier.

Natural sugar

Replacing refined sugar with dried fruit is my top tip!

In baking, I usually replace sugar with dried fruit (100g of sugar = 80 - 100g dried fruit, depending on how sweet you like it). Medjool dates work really well, depending on the recipe, preferably you’d chop them up small or blend them with the wet ingredients, like egg, milk or oil.

But why is dried fruit healthier than sugar you may ask… The fibre of the fruit contributes to sugar being slower released to the body. Just be aware that when you blend fruit that you are releasing the sugar, as the fibre is getting destroyed in the blending process. Free sugars are faster absorbed by the body.

During summer months we’re dodging the ice cream van with homemade ice lollies, one of our favourite flavours are pineapple, peach and banana. Depending on the fruit I use I either mash or blend them and then fill up ice moulds. A blend of yoghurt, banana and cinnamon also tastes divine. These homemade ice pops are usually frozen and ready to eat within three hours.

Is honey a healthier alternative to sugar?

So what about honey, we always tend to think of it as the healthy way to sweeten our life.

Remember that honey is also sugar, in fact, it has more calories than refined sugar. Honey has about 22 calories per teaspoon whereas sugar has 16. However, honey is also sweeter, meaning you get the same sweetness as with sugar, by using less. But it is classed as additional sugar, so be mindful how much you use.

While we are talking about honey, I want to remind you that honey is not safe for babies under 12 month of age, as it can cause Infant Botulism. You can visit the NHS website for more information! https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/botulism/

The bottom line when it comes to sweets is that all sweetness is to be used in moderation.

Although it’s difficult to overdose on sugar simply by eating fruit and veg. However, keep an eye on dried fruit, because they are a bit of a sugar trap, as they contain much more sugar by volume than the fresh fruit, but in moderation they are a very healthy addition to your diet, as they are full of antioxidants. Fruit juices are also to be consumed in moderation, it’s best to replace a glass of orange juice with a whole orange as you get all the fibre of the fruit this way and your body can absorb the sugar slower! And try to minimise refined sugars wherever possible.

In the next episode I will share some tips on accessories that have really helped me during my weaning journeys.

*Disclaimer: Please be advised that any information is given as general guidance only. Should you have any concerns over the wellbeing of your child such as intolerances, allergies and weight, or your baby was born prematurely or you are unsure if your baby is ready for solids, it is always best to consult with your Health Visitor or GP.*

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