The Problem with the ‘Baby Food Diet’

Sure, portion sizes are controlled — but guess what happens when you wolf these down

A lot of people have asked me about developing a weight-loss plan that revolves around baby food. Because I deliver babies, they think that I know all about baby food; so I looked into this diet.

Below are the facts about it, including its plan and how it works.

Dieters are proceeding with risks to their safety.

The diet. On the so-called “Baby Food Diet,” you literally do as the name suggests. You replace several meals and snacks with jars of baby food, from sweet potato mash to pureed peas and blended chicken. Many people on the diet will eat 10-14 jars of baby food throughout the day and end with a regular-sized dinner.

Why do people like this diet? It gives them an easy way to control their portion sizes while still getting in fruits and vegetables.

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Since the snack and meals take little time to make, they also don’t have as much motivation to eat out and can get on with their busy lives. They do not have to spend half an hour or more cooking meals.

Health concerns. There are many health concerns that come with replacing adult-sized meals with portions made for little babies. First of all, babies’ digestive systems are just developing, meaning that they have to take eating slowly and easily so that their stomachs can process it.

On the other hand, adults have fully developed digestive systems. They get great satisfaction from tasting and chewing food, then letting the heavy substance settle in their stomachs.

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Their active digestive systems will zip right through baby food, leaving them hungry and unsatisfied throughout the day. You can probably guess what will happen if this cycle of hunger continues. The person will launch right into a binge after a while, undoing any “progress” he may have made.

Second, adults can suffer nutritional deficiencies. Aside from needing over a dozen baby food jars to accommodate an adult’s metabolism, adults can easily get too few nutrients.

Baby food does not have enough fiber for a grown human body, and some people may limit their choices if they do not like the taste. For example, adults might find it hard to stomach pureed meats. Also, while baby food consists of mainly fruits and vegetables, its small size likely will not suffice for an adult’s nutrient needs.

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In addition, health professionals have no research to show that the Baby Food Diet is actually safe for people to use. Therefore, dieters are proceeding with unknown risks to their safety.

Not an effective diet program. While many people do not realize this fact, those promoting the Baby Food Diet actually use it for maintaining weight, not losing it. They recommend losing weight on a different diet regimen before starting the Baby Food Diet.

In fact, you should not rely on this diet for weight loss at all. It does not provide a safe, effective route for it. The Baby Food Diet may lead to severe caloric restriction, slowing down your metabolism. In addition, because you need high motivation to keep up with it, you risk binge-eating or resorting to your old habits.

Also, professionals have absolutely no research to back this diet, making it entirely unsafe. The diet does not even have rules or guidelines to help each person obtain similar results.

One person might replace two entire meals with one or two jars of baby food. Another person might eat four or five at a meal and pick through a few more for snacks.

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Then, on a busy day, a person could forget to eat all of her dozen jars and experience dizziness, nausea or weakness. They have no consistency.

Last but definitely not least, the Baby Food Diet does not teach adults the essential rudiments of a healthy diet. Adults who go back and forth between normal food and baby food will find themselves regaining any weight they may have lost before or during this diet. They may also have more temptation to cheat, undercutting their health and learning little about a truly healthy lifestyle.

The Baby Food Diet simply does not work — unless you’re a baby. It does not have adequate research to prove its safety nor guidelines to help people gain consistent, healthy results. Dieters risk getting nutritional deficiencies due to the small portion sizes and lack of fiber, and they do not learn the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.

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Do yourself a favor and toss out this diet fad in place of a more balanced plan. You will see healthier, longer-lasting results.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel’s senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. This Fox News article is used with permission; it also appeared on 

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