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Look Kids: An Alphabet With Newly Discovered Brains!

An "Alphabet" is the generic term I use to denote institutions that come with an acronym; in this case, the AAP — American Academy of Pediatrics — and specifically, their Committee on Nutrition.

In an article in Pediatric NewsRice Cereal Can Wait, Let Them Eat Meat First: AAP committee has changes in mind

There is no good reason not to introduce meats, vegetables, and fruits as the first complementary foods, according to Dr. Frank R. Greer, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’s Committee on Nutrition.

Introducing these foods early and often promotes healthy eating habits and preferences for these naturally nutrient-rich foods, said Dr. Greer, who is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Rice cereal has traditionally been the first complementary food given to American infants, but “Complementary foods introduced to infants should be based on their nutrient requirements and the nutrient density of foods, not on traditional practices that have no scientific basis,” Dr. Greer said in an interview.

In fact, the AAP’s Committee on Nutrition is working on a statement that will include these new ideas…

Well I’m glad that in 2010 (already!!!) someone is coming to their senses. Imagine it! What will medical science come up with next? Feed ’em meat! Man, I wish someone had thought of that a long time ago.

Rice cereal has been the first complementary food given to infants in the United States for many reasons, including cultural tradition. By the 1960s, most U.S. infants (70%–80%) were fed cereal by 1 month of age. By 1980, rice cereal predominated, as it was considered to be well tolerated and “hypoallergenic”—given growing concerns about food allergies, he said.

So let’s see, General Mills and whoever else were successful in marketing campaigns to get babies off breast milk and onto fructose & soy laden poison commonly referred to as "formula," But That’s Not All Folks! You Also Get…RICE CEREAL! Oh; Yay! & Yippee!

So now, 60 years later we’ve finally developed the scientific knowledge to take you all the way back to the beginning of humanity — to meat! But not so fast there…

However, newer thinking is that the emphasis for complementary foods should be on naturally nutrient-rich foods. This includes protein and fiber, along with vitamins A, C, D, and E and the B vitamins. In addition, saturated and trans fats should be limited, as should sugar, said Dr. Greer.

Saturated fat should be limited? But I thought this was about "complementary feeding," i.e., in addition to (hopefully) breast feeding, because breast feeding by itself becomes insufficient nutrition at about six months? This post is off the cuff but if memory serves, human breast milk is about 4.4% milkfat; about 55% of total calories. And guess what else? Not only is human milk very high in cholesterol, but about 50% of its total fat is saturated (and there’s a few percent of naturally occurring trans fats, too).

So why advise any limitation of "saturated fat?" Haven’t you guys gotten the memo? The saturated fat hysteria is DOA. Done. Finished. Dead and Buried. To continue to hold otherwise is ignorant at best, dishonest and life threatening at worst. The best anyone could do for their health is to replace as much sugar & flour in their diet as possible with real foods plentiful in saturated fat.

In light of this thinking, rice cereal is a less than perfect choice for the first complementary food given to infants, he said. Rice cereal is low in protein and high in carbohydrates. It is often mixed with varying amounts of breast milk or formula. Although most brands of formula now have added iron, zinc, and vitamins, iron is poorly absorbed—only about 7.8% of intake is incorporated into red blood cells.

‘Cause it’s not real food. Duh!

In contrast, meat is a rich source of iron, zinc, and arachidonic acid. Consumption of meat, fish, or poultry provides iron in the form of heme and promotes absorption of nonheme iron, noted Dr. Greer. Red meat and dark poultry meat have the greatest concentration of heme iron. Heme iron is absorbed intact into intestinal mucosal cells and is not affected by inhibitors of nonheme iron from the intestinal tract. Iron salts present in infant cereal are generally insoluble and poorly absorbed.

‘Cause it’s real food. Duh!

Well, here’s some folks who get it. Rex Loves Beef!

Thanks to Dr. Stephan for the tip on this article.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

35 Comments

  1. Skyler Tanner on January 21, 2010 at 15:43

    It’s funny how much that little guy loves the beef. It’s easy to forget how hard it would be to eat meat without incisors and canines. But we’re really vegetarians, right?

  2. maba on January 21, 2010 at 15:46

    *rubbing my eyes in disbelief* According to WAPF, babies do not have the enzymes to digest grains until they over a year old. I’m glad to see the new dietary recommendation but why do all these advices have to come with the mandatoy SFA caveat? Sheesh.

  3. Grok on January 21, 2010 at 16:05

    Stephan… Richard… Awesome!!! Thank you for this. Perfect timing. I needed this.

  4. Candice on January 21, 2010 at 16:09

    And this coming hot on the heels of the Time article on Grass Fed Beef – it seems the tide is indeed turning. I’m having a hard time getting my daughter to eschew bread, cookie, mac & cheese – maybe if her palate had been trained from early on it would be easier.

  5. Ed on January 21, 2010 at 16:12

    Rex needs to get his own food processor, since his parents were too cruel to puree his brisket for him

  6. Julie on January 21, 2010 at 16:17

    Good news! I just hope they stop with the anti-fat message. Those developing brains need it!

  7. Ravi on January 21, 2010 at 16:48

    Thank you so much for the link. My wife is Vegetarian and I am having a hard time convincing her to feed meat to our 9month old. Hopefully, this will help.

    • anand srivastava on January 22, 2010 at 00:57

      I had gone to a friends house. I was feeding their 9month son some meat, which was very spicy (hyderabadi biryani). The child was just following me everywhere, to get his meat. He would need water after some time, but he wouldn’t give up. It was amazing.



    • golooraam on January 22, 2010 at 08:54

      oh my how i love hyderbadi biryani



  8. Sylvie O. on January 21, 2010 at 16:57

    Richard: According to some text book I once read back when I was breastfeeding, human milk is actually closer to 6% fat, although that varies according to how long the baby nurses (foremilk is lighter, hindmilk gets fatter and fatter) and it also varies depending on the age of the child.

    I weaned by oldest when she was almost two and – I kid you not – by then I was producing stuff so thick we could have made ice cream with it.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 17:06

      Yea, I ended up Googling around a bit — OK, a lot 🙂 — and it came out to be a range from 3.2 to over 5, approaching 6. But average seems to be about 4.3 – 4.5, and it’s quite varied by country too, which makes sense.

      I didn’t bother with the foremilk / hindmilk thing, as it seems to me that would only be relevant for twins or more. Although, for women nursing more than one, I’d say they ought to be rotated as to who eats first & last. I’ll bet primitive people’s understood that very well.



  9. Trish on January 21, 2010 at 17:02

    Interesting you put this up–I have an online friend, vegetarian, who’s been feeding her two-year-old a vegetarian diet. As a result this kid’s teeth are literally rotting out of his head. Seriously, he has CAPS on his baby teeth, cavities, etc. When I suggested it might have something to do with his diet (instead of “bad genes” as others claimed) I got jumped like a tourist at the New York Port Authority. Oh, no, it could NEVER be the Holy Wonderful Vegetarian Diet, no no no!

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 17:07

      Grandma: “You can’t fix stupid.”



    • John Campbell on January 21, 2010 at 19:19

      That is classic nursing bottle caries – leaving the child to nurse at will on the bottle of milk (likely some form of crap if not expressed mother’s milk) or fruit juice. It is not unheard of to have kids suckle on colas or similar to keep them quiet. You can watch the teeth dissolve – ever wonder why your teeth are squeaky after drinking colas or other acidic drinks? I am assuming a distant memory for most of us here following Richard. Orange juice is not much better for your teeth.

      The vegetarian diet would likely exacerbate the problem with lots of fermentable carbs to add to the mix. Letting the child sleep with the bottle would hasten the damage. That sort of dental treatment required for a two year old is a tragedy and 100% preventable. Genes have nothing to do with it.

      The teeth can decay as fast as they erupt into a child’s mouth given the wrong environment. The only cause of this is ignorance or willful neglect. Soft heads – not soft teeth.



    • Trish on January 22, 2010 at 03:09

      Maybe this issue with her son’s teeth will make her think a little. She’s having a major guilt trip about it anyway because apparently the family qualifies for Medicare and she’s afraid when she takes the kid to the dentist everyone there will be like OMG WELFARE MOM! This is what happens when snowflakes parent …



    • Rachael on January 22, 2010 at 13:12

      I was a vegetarian for 30 years and raised my kids vegetarian as well, all three have horrible, horrible teeth. I now eat meat as does my middle child, the oldest remains veg, but supplements with K2, whey protein, and eats plenty of cream and butter, the youngest eats – through pure choice on his part – a very high protein and fat, low carb, ovo-lacto diet. I wish I knew then what I know now. I was very careful to avoid fat during my pregnancy too, so they pretty much got no fat soluble vitamins. My only hope is that their adult teeth will come in stronger now that we are working on supplementing and that their children will have better teeth.



  10. Bonnie on January 21, 2010 at 17:08

    This is awesome to see.

    However my boss who graduated with a degree in nutrition just started her 2-month-old on rice cereal.

    Seeing what people feed their infants and young children at such a critical stage of development is often painful for me.

  11. Kelly Elmore on January 21, 2010 at 18:09

    Breastmilk is sufficient for babies at least up to a year, but most children are interested in solid foods earlier than that. Six months is the absolute earliest age to introduce solid foods, but if the mom has a good diet, there is not rush after that either.

    Another clarification, single babies (not twins) still get the foremilk and the hindmilk. Foremilk is the milk babies get in the first 10 minutes or so of nursing on one breast. It’s a super neat-o system so that babies who are nursing for comfort get thinner milk with fewer calories, and babies nursing for hunger (usually longer feedings on each breast) are getting fatiter milk. It is getting to this fatty hindmilk that is the reason nursing moms shouldn’t switch babies to the other breast until the child has nursed his fill on one side.

  12. Karl on January 21, 2010 at 22:45

    It’s hardly a surprise, but the nutritional advice in baby books is a disaster- I sure hope this does something to change it. One in particular Baby 411, which otherwise is very good, actually has a series of sentences that first tell you to have your toddler drink whole milk because his developing brain needs it, but then the very next sentence says that after two years switch to skim like the rest of the family because all that fat will clog up his arteries as well. I guess you don’t need to worry about nourishing your brain after the age of two- though a malnourished brain about the only excuse for an doctor allowing those two sentences to exist side by side.

    That’s from a better one as well. I was given an old Mark’s and Spenser baby cookbook that pushes so much sugar laden junk I’m afraid to even keep it in the house. Days start with juice and rice cereal, move onto fruit, then some sort of pasta (healthywholegrain of course) followed by baby crackers (with extra iron don’t forget!) and then maybe a bit of skinless chicken breast.

    I certainly don’t care enough to start feeding my kid garbage, but it’s pretty amazing how insistent people are that rice cereal is an important part of development. Nobody can point to anything nutritionally useful in there that isn’t just sprinkled in vitamin pills, but somehow they’re sure there’s a magic property that is absolutely critical for babies. I really feel sorry for some of these kids and what they’re in for as this catches up to them!

  13. Sue on January 21, 2010 at 23:02

    Is it true that it used to be normal practice to give babies a spoonful of cod liver oil from 3 weeks of age. I think I read it at Weston A Price site?

    • Organic Gabe on January 22, 2010 at 06:15

      Yes, Sue, that’s true – at least in Europe where I was born. Although I think it was later than 3 weeks…



  14. Mary on January 22, 2010 at 02:06

    Man that’s cruel, poor baby =S
    So cute thou

  15. Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life on January 22, 2010 at 06:35

    Good to hear that rice cereal is getting the boot (hopefully people will listen and throw that garbage out!). But the idea of cutting saturated fat out of a young child’s diet is really disturbing to me. Growing children need those more than anything else. The fact the breastmilk is so high in saturated fat should be pointing people in the right direction – but media medicine pushes so much low-fat propoganda onto people it’s hard to think otherwise.

    I once met a couple who was so proud their baby daughter ate some ice cream at the hospital within days of being born. I didn’t even know about eating traditional foods then and it still disturbed me quite a bit.

  16. Mallory on January 22, 2010 at 06:40

    I have a book written in 1910 at my house and it goes in to BIG detail on health, nutrition, disease(at that time) and how to cure what ails you basically. it focuses a LOT on pregnancy nutrition and baby-childhood nutrition. It emphasizes breastfeeding a baby as long as you can and when it is wheened, to introduce beef stock, bone marrow, and soft meat along LOTS LOTS LOTS of raw milk. then around 1 1/2 to 2 it adds in potatoes, but still LOTS of milk…interesting to see how much we have changed… it does state the obvious which people dont see these days that crap diet for a youngster is gonna rot their teeth. they make a lot of obvious statements in the book that would blow the diet industry’s mind!

  17. Don Matesz on January 22, 2010 at 08:43

    This article also stated:

    “The group also recommended against the avoidance or late introduction of allergenic foods such as wheat, fish, egg, and peanut (J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 2008;46:99–110).”

    I disagree with the early intro of peanut or wheat especially. Wheat is one of the strong suspects for initiation of type I diabetes via autoimmunity, stimulated by introduction of wheat in the first 12 months. In general I like the message of the article, but while upgrading meat and downgrading rice cereal it upgraded wheat, a much more toxic grain. I think overall that is a major disservice.

  18. golooraam on January 22, 2010 at 08:53

    not kidding, I teared up seeing that video… I am so happy some people get it

    for gosh sakes people, these are kids, give them protein and fat so they can freakin’ grow healthy!!!

  19. Carla on January 22, 2010 at 10:54

    As the mother of twins I am surprised to be reading about foremilk and hindmilk.

    I have no idea what that is.

    Anyway I will relate my baby(now 34 year old men) story cause is is kind of interesting. My pediatrician was Dr Paul Fleiss (yeah, Heidi’s dad) and he was a sticker for health and nutrition. He told me I should breastfeed my twins and when I told the LPN I wanted to breastfeed she told me I will not produce enough milk to feed them , I disagreed and made them bring my babies in for breastfeeding. However in the nursery they were giving them sugar water and God knows what, they even refused to let Dr Fleiss in to see them even though I told them he was their doctor because they knew he would have not been happy about the sugar water. Anyway it was so hard to get them to nurse because they were fed before they got to me. It finally happened and guess what? I had enough breastmilk for every kid on my block. I could not believe the level of ignorance from supposed professionals.

    I nursed them for 6 months and I was tempted once to give them some formula. I prepared it once and set it aside and forgot about it. I came back and it had turned green and separated to some green foam on top and some clear green liquid on the bottom. I decided there is no way in hell I am giving that stuff to my babies. When I weaned them I gave them mashed boiled eggs and real fruit and vegetables mashed up. They are healthy, though one is autistic (because of vaccines but that is another story) other than that they are perfect specimens.

    When I see people giving babies formula or baby food (cereals) I just shake my head. Mashing up some boiled eggs and fruits and vegetables is not labor intensive or hard but they are convinced what they are giving their babies is good for them.

    Hence obesity epidemic.

  20. Annie on January 22, 2010 at 12:05

    Richard –
    Here’s a link to a website set up by this mother who added saturated back into her daughter’s diet to cure allergies.
    It’s such a critical developmental time that it infuriates me to see mothers feeding so much processed food.
    When my children were small it was the start of the processed baby foods era and thankfully I steered clear of them.
    I’m sure the pressure on working mothers has driven the baby food industry – one of the, perhaps, unforeseen consequences of feminism?!
    Link:

  21. Zanjabil on January 22, 2010 at 16:28

    I have 4 sons, 3 were breast fed, 1, I pumped milk .. he never developed the suck/swallow because he was brain injured at birth and has CP. Any way the oldest was the only one who had baby cereal. I was young and didn’t have that much knowledge about healthy eating as I did when I had my other 3. He is the only one who has weight issues, I wonder if this could have contributed to it. He has a preference for carb foods, fruits, breads, potatoes.

    I went through a vegetarian phase (3yrs) ,vegan(4 mo), and raw vegan(2 mo). My boys have gone through each of these phases with me, but not strictly. I’m just relieved that I’ve finally found the healthiest way to eat while they are still young enough to influence them. They are; 11, 9,4, and 3 yrs. I’ve only been Paleo + dairy since November and they are loving this way of eating, as am I because for the first time since the birth of my 2nd son I ‘m releasing fat.

    I’m slowly weaning them off the refined carbs and grains it has not been easy though. My husband still buys refined crap and brings it into our home. But it’s not as much as before 🙂

  22. Sue on January 23, 2010 at 05:43

    Sorry this isn’t really part of the discussion but just had to share it. I was on amazon discussion and someone was asking about vegetarian alternatives for fish sticks for her kids. Someone replied kids need meat. Then this wonderful comment:

    “It’s an old wives tale that keeps being repeated that kids need meat instead of meat substitutes for growth and development.”

    • D. Foltz on January 23, 2010 at 15:35

      > “it’s an old wive’s tale”

      The translation, of course, is that “mothers have been passing this information down for hundreds of years” and that it should thus be assumed to be true unless proven otherwise.

      I suppose it’s a symptom of the times that, despite continually labeling them as biased in every direction, people trust authorities more than themselves…



  23. Vanilla on January 24, 2010 at 12:49

    I love you people!!

    I have a 8 mo daughter (I had a natural delivery, no epidural). I have breastfed her since she was 3 hours old and she has never seen a bottle or a pacifier in her life. I don’t use a stroller (I wear her in a sling) and we co-sleep. Since six month or so, I started BLW, giving her peaces of vegetables and fruit, and recently meat which she only eats with her hands (picking up pieces, biting, chewing) with absolutely no help from me – never used a baby spoon, no purees or soup, no “baby food”.

    Compared to other babies her age she eats extremely smaller solid meals but there’s plenty of breast milk to go around (and I;m planing on extended bf – past two years). It never even crossed my mind to give her cereal, fruit juice, baby tea or dairy, like every single pediatrician recommends. She is a perfectly healthy, happy, beautiful child – she never cried more than five minutes in her life and I feel so happy with the choices I made.

    The thing is – and here comes the funny part – until a week or so ago it never even crossed my mind that my parenting “style” (which is pretty much inspired by the Continuum Concept) has a perfectly perfect relation with a a kind of lifestyle – paleo. Can you believe it? It seemed so perfect for my daughter but only now – discovering this blog and other like it – have I decided to make this logical step: give up sugar, white flour, industrial food. I’ve been playing around with the low carb concept for a while – with some success – but this is a whole other story.

    And here’s a question: are there any studies or articles comparing breast milk proprieties of paleo diet versus SAD? From what I’ve read, breast milk pretty much maintains its nutrition values no matter what the mother eats (for example mothers in concentration camp or ver poor countries are perfectly capable of breastfeeding). But what about mother loading on sugars and industrial foods?

    Sorry for my long post. And again, I need to thank you for helping me and my family to stars being healthier and happier.

  24. Vanilla on January 24, 2010 at 14:35

    oh and another thing: I was a fish eating vegetarian in the past years… until today, when I ate a strip of farmer’s chicken I was feeding my daughter 🙂 I liked it

    • John Campbell on January 25, 2010 at 19:59

      Welcome to the dark side Vanilla.
      And I have heard of bubble tea, but what is baby tea?



  25. Vanilla on January 25, 2010 at 22:18

    sorry, I live in Romania and I don’t know the exact translation to everything. Here, smart pediatricians recommend all mothers to give their babier “tea” (from different plans like fenne and chamomilel) “between meals” because, of course, the little thing called breastfeeding on demand is nonsense – mothers are told to wait at least two hours between feedings.

    and then they are the ones that don’t really want to wake up so many times and they ask daddy or granny to trick the baby with a bottle of tea so they can get enough sleep – because of course, sleeping with the baby is out of the question.

    another brilliant idea is to give them o bottle of formula in the evening so they are “full” and “sleep through the night”. all this decreases the milk production and then you hear the mothers “sadly” admitting they only able to breastfeed for 3 months or their baby refused the breast at 5 months.

    another thing (hope I’m not boring you people).

    here, the smart pediatricians recommend (for 40 years) starting solids at 4 moth with… carrot, apple and orange JUICE and… biscuits, gluten free free because we’re in 2010 :)) . then they slowly introduce cereal in a bottle and then the finest blended purees and then, tricking the baby to eat veggies and meat by hiding it into yogurts. at about one year into their baby’s life they start wondering why their baby is so fussy and refuses to eat the smallest pieces and they “still” want everything pureed. well duuuh

    I’m sure some of these problems are tipical for the US too, and I’m absolutely positive this is the way to start a life full of crap and junk – babies are not allowed to understand eating and food and feeding themselves, they become scared to eat and then the parents have to give them sweets in order for them to “eat something”

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