Childhood illnesses

The danger of giving honey to babies and children under one year of age

The danger of giving honey to babies and children under one year of age


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The honey It is one of the most complete foods that contributes the most to the health of the little ones in the house, but there is also a danger of giving honey to children under one year with a first and last name: infant botulism, an infrequent but potentially fatal food poisoning / illness in infants.

When complementary feeding is introduced into the diet of babies, around 6 months of age under normal conditions (healthy full-term children with the appropriate reflexes to face the introduction of solids), there are many fears that we face parents. Will you like it? Will it be good to eat? Will you have allergies? All this without forgetting the dreaded choking.

As if this were not enough, now we must also worry about possible food poisoning, that is, those infections caused by bacteria or viruses carried in food, and that can be of greater or lesser severity depending on the microorganism and health and age of the baby.

Honey is a sticky, sweet substance that bees produce from the nectar of flowers. Honey has been used since ancient times both as a sweetener, as a preservative, and even as a medicine.

Its nutritional composition is highly variable, although its main component are sugars, monosaccharides such as fructose and glucose, disaccharides such as sucrose or maltose, and minimal amounts of oligosaccharides. Additionally, and depending on the quality and the treatment that has been given - less treated generally means more quality - it can contain enzymes, amino acids, some vitamins and minerals and antioxidant substances.

The honey It is one of the foods that should be avoided in the diet of babies and young children for several reasons. Learn the four reasons why giving honey to children can be dangerous

1. The introduction of sugar in the baby's diet should be avoided or postponed as much as possible. The renal system of babies, responsible for the elimination of water-soluble solids (those that dissolve in water and therefore can be eliminated via urine) is not prepared for foods with excess solutes, such as salt and sugar , and they may have to work beyond their means.

2. Sugar is related to the appearance of dental cavitiesand it is responsible for the appearance, either during childhood or later, in adolescence or adulthood, of diseases such as obesity - and its consequent cholesterol and cardiovascular problems - or diabetes.

3. Honey is a source of what are known as empty calories, in other words, it does not provide essential nutrients, since its vitamin or mineral content is practically irrelevant, and it only provides small sugars. Glucose is the source of energy for the brain, but the body has metabolic means capable of generating glucose without the need to provide it through the diet, from complex carbohydrates, such as starch.

It is not advisable to exceed the amount of simple sugars recommended by the World Health Organization, 5% in children's diet. Unfortunately, this value is often exceeded in the diet of a baby, since simple sugars are part of many foods that are called "suitable for babies" and that are offered on a regular basis, such as baby food, cookies, yogurt or juices.

4. In honey, spores of Clostridium botulinum. This microorganism is capable of producing a toxin called botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin is the cause of botulism, a neurological disease that can be extremely serious if not detected and treated in time.

Botulism is rare, but with a mortality that can reach 10%. Its initial symptoms, constipation, lethargy, muscle weakness, reluctance to eat and crying disorders, begin when the microorganism colonizes the baby's intestine, and, given the immaturity of its intestinal microflora, it is unable to stop its growth.

The toxin is then able to reach all organs through the bloodstream, blocking the release of acetylcholine, and preventing communication between neurons and muscles. Death occurs due to respiratory failure, since the diaphragm and other respiratory muscles do not work normally, and oxygen stops reaching the heart, brain, and other organs of the body.

In general, it is convenient avoid simple sugars, either intentionally added or present in industrial products and postpone the introduction of honey into the baby's diet until at least one year of age, but preferably 24 months.

You can read more articles similar to The danger of giving honey to babies and children under one year of age, in the category of Childhood Diseases on site.


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