Reader Pat L. of Mt. Vernon, Washington, writes: “There were two pillars of nutrition in today’s paper, including yours, both of which said babies should only be given breast milk for the first 6 months. But you went on to say, “Studies show that gradually introducing (potentially allergenic) foods along with other new foods between the ages of 4 and 6 months can actually reduce the risk of developing allergies.” You can see the reason for my confusion. “
I definitely can. And that’s because babies – like humans – are individuals. According to the latest nutritional guidelines for Americans, breast milk alone is the ideal form of nutrition from birth to around 6 months of age. By 6 months, most babies are ready to start developing solid foods. This means that the baby can control his head and neck movements, sit alone or with support, start grabbing objects (like small pieces of food) and bringing them to his mouth, and swallowing food instead of pressing them to his chin .
Some infants reach this stage before 6 months. However, it is not recommended to start other foods before the age of 4 months. So the advice is to start with the solid when the baby shows signs that they are not just ready for milk – usually 6 months of age, but no earlier than 4 months of age.
Frank D. of Indiana writes, “I have a question about net carbohydrates. I discovered a new bread called Live Carb Smart, made by Aunt Millie’s Bakery in Fort Wayne, Indiana, that says it has 40 calories per slice and 12 grams of carbohydrates on the label.
“The label also states 10 g of fiber, 1 g of soluble fiber, 8 g of insoluble fiber and 1 g of total sugar. They also state that the carbohydrates actually absorbed by the body are only 1 g.
“Does that mean I could eat 2 slices and only count 2 g of carbohydrates and 80 calories, or just hype? It’s the best low-carb bread I’ve ever eaten. “
This is confusing as there is no official definition of “net carbohydrates” by the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees food labeling in the US.
Here’s my opinion: The 12 grams of carbohydrates in a slice of this bread is the total sum of all sugar, starch and fiber in it. Of this, 10 g is in the form of fibers, which include soluble and insoluble types. The body does not digest fiber. If you subtract this from the total carbohydrates, there is 2 grams left – 1 of which is sugar.
Why is the label only 1 “net carbohydrate” instead of 2? The answer might lie in the ingredients that have resistant tapioca starch listed as a second ingredient. Resistant starch is similar to fiber in that it cannot be digested by the body. Whether it is 1 or 2 grams absorbed per slice, you are still left with a very low-carb bread.
Barbara Quinn food column
Barbara Quinn is a Registered Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Advisor affiliated with the Monterey Peninsula Community Hospital, California. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email them at [email protected].