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expert reaction to study comparing home-cooked meals from specialist recipes and pre-prepared commercial meals for infants

Publishing in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal a group of researchers have reported that commercially bought meals are more energy-dense and contain greater vegetable variety compared to home-cooked meals which used cookbook recipes, whereas home-cooked meals were cheaper though tended to exceed energy and fat recommendations.


Prof. Julian Hamilton-Shield, Professor of Diabetes and Metabolic Endocrinology, University of Bristol, said:

“It is important to specify precisely what different meals the authors have investigated, and the news release suggesting that home cooked meals per se are not always better for infants being weaned could be misinterpreted. This research study examined the nutrient quality of commercial ready prepared meals and commercial recipe book meals. This is not really the same as comparing to home cooked meals produced by parents (as the authors do point out). It is very likely that infant-specific, commercial recipe books are only accessed by a minority of families cooking at home for their infants. The authors again state they did not look at the prevalence or frequency of use by parents of such books. If anything, the study does call into question the value of ‘expert’ infant recipe books over pre-prepared meals or ordinary home cooking. ”


A comparison of preprepared commercial infant feeding meals with home-cooked recipes’ by Carstairs et al. published in Archives of Disease in Childhood on Tuesday 19th July. 


Declared interests

Prof. Julian Hamilton-Shield: No conflicts of interest.

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