Babies' spoon fed while weaning end up fatter than those fed finger foods, researchers from Nottingham University have claimed.

They found that children fed mashed up fruit and vegetables appear to develop a sweet tooth, while those children who fed themselves favoured carbohydrates, such as toast. The findings were discovered after a study on 155 children.

Overall, however, most of the youngsters in both categories were of a healthy weight, the report in BMJ Open said.

Lead researcher Dr Ellen Townsend said: "It could be an age of introduction effect that we are seeing. Carbohydrates are ideal finger foods.

"But self-control of feeding may also be a factor. You are handing over control and letting the baby decide how much they want to eat.

"With spoon feeding there is the temptation to get into them whatever is left in the bowl or the jar."

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, and speaker at the forthcoming JFHC Live event, told the BBC: "It is important that they experience all five food groups and experiment with variety as much as possible.

"If half of it finishes on the floor, so be it - the value of experimentation in the early months of nutrition is incalculable, and babies won't willingly starve themselves.

"If this also has the advantage of reducing unhealthy weight gain and avoiding obesity, it's a win-win for mums."

Posted by Robert Mair on 7/2/2012