That's the surprising result of a new study that compared the food preferences and weight of babies who fed themselves finger food with those who were spoon-fed.
Both groups of children had equal exposure to snack foods. But the babies who fed themselves preferred carbohydrates like toast, pasta or potatoes, while the spoon-fed children went for sweets when given a choice.
You'd think the children who controlled their own eating would be heavier, but not so. The spoon-fed crew was the one that was more likely to be obese as toddlers. Eight of the 63 spoon-fed children became obese, while none of the 63 self-feeding children were.
"That was interesting," says Ellen Townsend, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Nottingham in England, who led the study. "Maybe with spoon feeding, if you've lovingly prepared a delicious portion, and you might want to get that portion into that child. There may be a temptation to try to get in an extra spoonful or two."
The "self-weaning babies" might like carbs because they're easier to chew and tend to have nice textures, the researchers say. They want to do further research to see if breast-feeding and picky eating play a role.
Read more on NPR.
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