Pureed baby food is more likely to make children obese than solid finger foods, British researchers claimed.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham, in central England, studied 92 children who were weaned on finger foods and 63 who were spoon-fed purees and found fewer cases of obesity in the children who fed themselves.
The children -- who were aged between 20 months and six years old -- were fed by their parents, who then recorded their responses to 151 different foods.
As well as gaining less weight, the sample group given solid foods had a "significantly increased liking for carbohydrates," while the spoon-fed sample group preferred sweet-tasting foods, the researchers said.
"Our results suggest that infants weaned through the baby-led approach learn to regulate their food intake in a manner which leads to a lower BMI [body mass index] and a preference for healthy foods like carbohydrates," the authors wrote in the journal BMJ Open. "This has implications for combating the well-documented rise of obesity in contemporary societies."
The team believes that babies who feed themselves learn to regulate their food intake better, as well as developing a preference for "foods that form the building blocks of healthy nutrition, such as carbohydrates."