As most of my readers already know, I am not in the habit of posting negative reviews. I am a firm believer in the philosophy, “If you have nothing nice to say, it is best to say nothing.”
However, once in a while a product comes along that is so bad I feel a moral obligation to raise my voice in protest. Of course, the product that has every moral fiber in my body screaming in protest is Gerber’s new concoction called Gerber Graduates Lil’ Sticks Chicken.
Gerber is marketing its Lil’ Sticks Chicken as a “hot dog alternative”, as if all our current obesity/diabetes riddled society lacks is a “hot dog alternative”.
But, that’s not the worst of it. Gerber goes on to praise its “jarred chicken” as being just the right size for a baby’s hands and conveniently omits the fact that this “jarred chicken” is also just the right size to lodge itself in a baby’s windpipe and pose a significant choking hazard.
In fact, hot dogs are so dangerous to infants that Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio had the following to say about them, “If you were to take the best engineers in the world and try to design the perfect plug for a child’s airway, it would be a hot dog.” source
In their shameless attempt to self-promote their “jarred chicken” as “healthy” Gerber goes on to claim that their “preservative free” Lil’ Sticks Chicken is “an excellent source of protein, zinc and omega fatty acids“.
So What Is In Gerber Graduates Lil’ Sticks Chicken?
- Ground Chicken: Exactly what part of the chicken is used? The label doesn’t mention this little detail
- Water: Ok. Water is harmless enough but why is it even necessary?
- Whey Protein Concentrate: This is theoretically a good ingredient but again, why is it necessary?
1) Chicken alone, is an excellent source of protein and if the chicken used to make these Lil’ Sticks Chicken is anything other than beaks, combs, skin and so forth why does Gerber feel the need to add whey protein concentrate to the Graduates Lil’ Sticks Chicken to drive up its protein count?
2) Large doses of whey protein can put a great deal of stress on a baby’s developing organs, particularly the kidneys.
- Salt: Gerber advertises this product as being “preservative free. Yet, it adds 300mg of sodium to it. This is a blatant display of false advertisement! Doesn’t Gerber know that sodium is the oldest preservative known to mankind?
1) Of course, if we assume that Gerber knows that sodium is a preservative than we must conclude that Gerber thinks the public is too stupid to realize the same and point out their false advertising claims.
2) Is 300mg of sodium safe for a baby? NO! 300mg = 0.3g which is almost as much as half of your baby’s maximum recommended daily sodium intake.
According to national guidelines, salt should never be added to baby food because too much salt places a great deal of undue pressure on a baby’s delicate kidneys. Babies who breastfeed, get just the right amount of salt via breast milk. Babies who are bottle-fed also get the right amount of salt through these formulas which are tailored to closely mimic breast milk. Infants who eat sold foods, get just the right amount of salt, from the foods they eat, since sodium, in small amounts, is naturally present in many foods.
- Canola Oil: Ugh! Besides, being a genetically modified crop, Canola is also extremely high in calories and Canola oil adds a whopping 7g of fat to Gerber’s newest concoction.
- Sugar: Why? When you boil a piece of chicken breast for yourself or your infant, do you sprinkle it with sugar? Of course not! So, why would you purchase a ready-made food that does this? The only reason I can think of for the presence of sugar in this recipe is that sugar is also a preservative. source
- Natural Flavor: What natural flavors?
- Onion and Garlic Powder: In small amounts, these two ingredients are harmless. However, garlic is well known to lower blood pressure levels and garlic powder can also be harsh on a baby’s delicate digestive system. So, the question here becomes, how much of these two ingredients is added to this “jarred chicken” concoction? We don’t know!
- Caramel Color: Why? What possible reason can Gerber give for adding this ingredient?