Gerber Bad For Baby Brains?

Posted on 23rd May 2011 in Uncategorized

Everyone knows that Gerber makes baby food.  And you might think that the baby food that Gerber recommends would be optimal for the growth and development of a baby.  According to some experts in the field of child nutrition, that may not be true.

Gerber has dietary recommendations on its website ( ).  There are several categories of childhood development on the site.  I randomly chose the category “Crawler”.  This seems to be kids who are about 9 months of age.  In my research, every recommendation that I found said that 50% of a baby’s calories should come from fat until at least the age of 2 years, which I discussed in my last post ( How Much Fat Does Your Baby Need to Eat? ).

I went to Gerber’s Crawler Nutrition Guide page, and I looked at the nutrition in what Gerber considers to be a good day’s worth of food for a Crawler.  I chose Gerber products from the list in the amounts that Gerber recommends for Crawler age kids.  I did not cherry pick, I actually chose randomly.  Here is what I chose from Gerber’s recommended list:

  • GERBER GOOD START Protect PLUS Formula – Powder – 5 servings (25 oz)
  • GERBER NatureSelect 2ND FOODS Vegetables – Peas – 1 serving
  • GERBER Organic SmartNourish 2ND FOODS Purees – Farmer’s Market Vegetable Blend with Mixed Grains – 3 servings
  • GERBER NatureSelect 2ND FOODS Fruits – Apple Strawberry Banana – 1 serving
  • GERBER Mixed Grain Cereal – 2 servings

Here is what I found – this day’s worth of food contains:
29 g of fat
133 g of carbs
19 g of protein

A gram of fat has 9 calories, a gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories, and a gram of protein has 4 calories.  That adds up to:
252 fat calories
532 carbohydrate calories
76 protein calories

And when I do the math I come up with:
29.3 % of calories from fat
61.9 % of calories from carbohydrates
8.8% of calories from protein.

To repeat a quote from one of my sources from last post:

Science Daily – Infants, Toddlers Should Not Restrict Fat Intake, Experts Say:

Watkins and Hennig, however, suggest that we should not restrict fat until 5 years of age, and then reduce it gradually throughout childhood and teen years. They say that limiting dietary fat to less than 30 percent of total calories in young children may reduce growth and lead to nutritional shortages.

So, according to these experts, the low fat levels in Gerber’s recommended meal “may reduce growth and lead to nutritional shortages”.

And for further emphasis, let me tell you what the American Academy of Pediatrics says about the importance of fat on their website :
Low Fat Diets For Babies

Here’s a very important recommendation to keep in mind—do not restrict your child’s consumption of dietary fat and calories in the first 2 years of life. In other words, don’t put a baby younger than 2 years on a diet or give her low-fat or skim milk.
Here’s why: the early months and years of your child’s life are critical for the normal development of her brain and body. Specifically, she’ll need calories from dietary fat for her brain to grow and mature normally.
As a general rule, your child should get about half of her daily calories from fat up to the age of 2 years.

Please check my math here.  If I made a mistake in reading their recommendations or in my math, please tell me.  But it looks to me like Gerber’s recommended diet will not promote optimal brain growth or physical development.


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2 Responses to “Gerber Bad For Baby Brains?”

  1. Great post-If only more parents knew this! Avocados are a great source of natural fat for babies and they’re very inexpensive.

    • admin says:

      Thanks! I agree.

      I buy tons of avocados when they are in season, but when they are not they can be half black and still $2 each.

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