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Mothering › Baby Articles › Karo Bebé - Corn Syrup Marketed as Baby Supplement

Karo Bebé - Corn Syrup Marketed as Baby Supplement

By Beth Berry




Before you begin your holiday baking, I thought you might want to know about the existence of a product I stumbled upon a few months ago in a Mexican grocery.

Passing the jellies and pancake mix on my way to the dried beans, a small glass bottle with a familiar label caught my eye. It was Karo corn syrup – the kind your grandmother uses in her pecan pie – only there was something markedly different about this particular bottle. Above the familiar Karo font was a single word that I never imagined I'd see in conjunction with a brand name of one of the unhealthiest “food” products ever created. This was Karo Bebé, the truth of which was confirmed by a photo of a happy, unsuspecting baby and on the side, a baby bottle. Drop-jawed in disbelief, I picked up the bottle and read the back:

Razones para elegir Karo Bebe

  • A partir de los seis meses de edad, las necesidades de energía y nutrimentos de tu bebé van a aumento, y Karo es una alternativa para complementarlos.
  • Aporta energía por su contenido de hidratos de carbono libre de alergenos.
  • Con Karo, la textura y sabor de los alimentos se mejora facilitando su aceptación.
  • No contiene colorantes ni saborizantes artificiales.
  • Sin conservadores Químicos.


“La leche materna es el mejor alimento para el bebé.”


Reasons for Choosing Karo Baby

  • From six months of age, your baby's energy and nutrient needs will increase and Karo is an alternative to complement them.
  • Provides carbohydrate energy free of allergens.
  • With Karo, the texture and flavor of food improves, facilitating their acceptance.
  • Doesn't contain artificial colors or flavors.
  • No chemical preservatives.


And at the bottom of the text, with no source to support the use of quotation marks:
“Breast milk is the best food for babies.”

I won't go into all the reasons why Karo's marketing of corn syrup as a baby supplement is so disturbing, nor how misleading their product description (at least not just now).


Just a heads up and reminder that we vote with our dollars as this holiday season approaches. I, for one, will find an alternative to Karo in the event that I am craving pecan pie.



Beth Berry

About Beth Berry


Beth Berry is a writer, mother of four daughters and born idealist living the real life. When she's not orchestrating the household, she can be found in one of several precarious yoga poses, wandering indigenous Mayan food markets, or holed up in a sunny southern Mexican cafe with her laptop, a shade grown dark roast and a contemplative look on her face. Having lived against the grain as a baby-slinging, toddler-nursing, secondhand-shopping, wanna-be farmer for 17 years, she and her family decided to ditch the rat race for a taste of life abroad. Now, in addition to challenging conventional wisdom, she writes about her life-changing experiences working among women in extreme poverty and oppression. Keep up with her musings and adventures in imperfection at www.revolutionfromhome.com.

Comments (7)

I switched to agave in my pecan pie a few years ago, and I won't go back. It tastes better, is better for you. Thanks for giving me another reason to avoid Karo.
This isn't anything new or unique. It used to be common to make home-made baby formula using canned milk and karo syrup. Cow's milk is much lower in carbohydrates (sugar) than breast milk, so corn syrup is added in order to, yes, make it a better food for baby to grow on. Commercial formulas also often use corn syrup as their source for boosting the carb count to appropriate levels.
I am not sure Agave is any healthier, since they're both highly refined sugars, but I do prefer the flavor and results over Karo syrup.
Sadly, this is what my Dad and his brothers were raised on. My mom threw in Shaklee (sp) vitamins too, when she made it for me. Interestingly, everyone has major kidney issues. I'd be interested to know if there's any connection. At least it was back before all the genetically modified garbage....but I still nursed all of mine :)
thats what we were raised on too and we have no kidney issues. we do have food allergies though and digestive issues.
Sadly, I am not at all surprised by this. When I was living in Mexico, the public health nurse told me that my exclusively bf baby was starving and that I needed to supplement her with something similar (I didn't and she's grown fine). I saw things like moms putting Coke in their babies' bottles, etc. But to be fair, it was also while in Mexico that I learned how to use breastmilk as a health remedy and was encouraged to to nurse uncovered in public.
sadly, this is no worse for the baby than a lot of baby formulas that have GMO corn syrup in them. I've seen bottles of water made for babies that have fluoride in them too. very disturbing.
I don't understand why this is so disturbing. Corn syrup is the first ingredient in almost all formulas, even the organic variety. Making your own formula with syrup is a lot healthier than the store-bought variety, and not every woman can breastfeed. I struggled with supply in the beginning for a medical reason, but it was thankfully it was resolved by my doctor. Not every woman is so lucky, despite lactation consultants and everything else.
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