The Baby Food Diet for Adults - Does It Work? Is It Safe?

  • Author: Jennifer Cohen
  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

What should I know about "The Baby Food Diet”?

Baby food in jars or those that you puree like carrots, meats, and mashed bananas, are typical foods for feeding babies without teeth, and they have been a weight loss trend for adults for few years.

Created by celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson, The Baby Food Diet is a weight loss fad promising to curb cravings, allow eating on the run, and lose weight quickly. Strange as it may seem, the plan is said to be popular, with celebrities rumored to have lost weight on baby food.

It is a very simple idea - substitute tiny jars of baby food for higher calorie snacks and meals instead of an an eating plan like a low-calorie diet that rich in foods that are low in fat, includes lean protein, is low in trans fats, and are nutrient-dense. Instead of real food that you chew, for example, cereal, The Baby Food Diet consists of replacing one or more meals each day with jarred baby food. There are several variations of the plan -- replace all food, one or more meals, or just as a replacement for high-calorie snacks.

So, what do the diet experts say about The Baby Food Diet? The diet can work if calories are kept in check, but it is more likely just another diet gimmick that won't last.

What are The Baby Food Diet guidelines?

The Baby Food Diet has few specific guidelines on the quantity or type of baby food or the types and amounts of adult foods allowed for snacks or meals. The basic plan calls for eating 14 jars of baby food throughout the day, with an option to have a healthy adult meal at dinner. Another option is to have three healthy adult meals per day, swapping higher-calorie snacks for baby food.

How does The Baby Food Diet Work?

The theory: Bland, mushy baby food served in portion-controlled jars will prevent overeating and keep you satisfied with smaller portions of food. If you stick to the plan, you should get fewer calories and triggeraweight loss, but you will only lose weight if you control the types of baby food, number of jars, and the calories in the supplemental meals. Typical jars of baby food range from 15 to 100 calories.

One advantage is that most baby food is fortified with plenty of nutrients, free of additives and preservatives, and low in fat, sugar, and salt. And there is a wide variety to choose from, including organic baby food. But baby food is designed for babies, not overweight adults. Babies and adults have different calorie and nutrient needs. Baby food also lacks fiber, calcium, and vitamin D.

There are no guidelines to help dieters keep the weight off. Are you going to eat baby food forever? Plus, there aren't any exercise recommendations for The Baby Food Diet.

Does the Baby Food Diet work?

At best, most adults are only going to tolerate The Baby Food Diet for a few days or a week, predicts American Dietetic Association spokesperson Jeanne Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, RD. "It is an interesting concept that removes the pleasure of chewing and controls calories with portioned jars, but it could backfire and lead to binges or overeating too many little jars," says Mooloo, a nutrition consultant based in Sacramento, CA.

When you choose pureed food over natural foods you miss out on valuable nutrients and fiber. "Eat an apple or carrot instead of a jar of applesauce or carrots. It is more satisfying to crunch and chew and you get the benefit of more fullness and fiber at much less expense," Mooloo says.

Chewing is associated with feelings of fullness and satiety that can't be replaced with pureed foods that go down easily and may make you feel hungrier. But if you want to try baby food, Mooloo suggests storing a few jars of low-calorie fruits and vegetables in your briefcase, drawer, or pantry for a quick and healthy alternative to higher-calorie treats.

Is The Baby Food Diet just another fad diet?

Most experts agree, a diet of baby food is just another gimmick that will likely lose its appeal quickly because most adults will miss healthy meals and the satisfaction and pleasure of chewing food with texture.

My advice: Skip this diet that favors foods that you have to mush or puree it, and instead, eat a diet that is rich in fiber, beans, fruits, legumes, and vegetables because they are crunchy, full of fiber, and are much more satisfying than baby food.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 1/25/2019
References