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Lactose free infant formula is seldom the best option for baby
Breast feeding is BEST…………….
But it doesn’t always happen.
Fortunately modern Moms have a straight forward plan B – infant formula.
But it turns out, infant formulas are NOT created equal.
This is what a group of Australian researchers discovered, when they tested out the impact various commercial infant fomulas, had on sugar and insulin levels.
Testing the GI of formula
Why adults ?
Well, to test out the glycemic index of a food requires, a set amount of carbs be consumed and this consumption, is followed by multiple finger pricks. OUCH !
A task few Moms would sign junior up for.
However, it was something a few Moms were willing to sign themselves up for.
Since this aim of this study was to compare the different infant feeding formulations, the differences between adult and infant physiology, would be relative, the researchers took them up on the offer.
Adults do “feeding”
On different occasions, these brave lactating Moms swigged down, 25 g of carbohydrate in the form of
- Breast milk (their own)
- A lactose based commercial infant formula
- Pure glucose sugar
The data revealed………….
Breast milk and formula had pretty much the same, glycemic index and insulinemia index.
Formula is fine
Moms using formula can rest easy…..
The plan B food was an excellent substitute for the real thing.
But is it ?
The formula that was tested, was chosen specifically because it closely matched breast milk, both in terms of ratios of the different macronutrients, as well as the type of carbohydrate used.
The carbohydrate in milk
Lactose IS the carbohydrate in milk. All milk………
But, not all formula’s used lactose.
Sometimes, this IS their selling point, because some little ones have trouble “handling” lactose.
Often times it’s not mentioned………
When lactose is not used
A quick squizz at the list of ingredients will reveal the carbohydrate source used in the formula.
Possible sources include
- corn starch,
- corn syrup solids
So what ?
Baby is getting the energy he/she needs……….
The other sugars in formula
Curious the team tested out the glycemic and insulin index of some of these infant formulas. Once more the subjects were adults.
Young, healthy and lean.
The results were quite different………..these formulas were clearly spiking both sugar and insulin.
One particular version took the insulin index from eighty something to OVER two hundred.
So does it matter ?
Growing BIG and strong
High insulin levels are associated with greater weight gain, in kids, as well as adults.
It’s not pathological, it’s physiology.
Insulin’s job is to put away the groceries. And milk is designed to be especially insulinogenic, because growing baby big and strong is milk’s job.
The more insulin that is around, the more efficient the process.
Up to a point…..there are a lot of benefits to being efficient.
The risk of obesity
In a world where calories are in short supply, the increased efficiency is beneficial. But, this is not the situation for most humans living in the modern world………..
The efficiency becomes a liability.
Especially in the genetically more susceptible….
If baby is lactose intolerant
You MUST go lactose free.
But if baby is NOT – choosing a formula without lactose is NOT necessary.
And potentially “harmful”.
The plasma insulin-glucose concentrations will be significantly higher than nature intended. This difference can have an impact metabolic programming, the effects of which, could last a lifetime.
Choose a lactose based infant formula when possible.
A shortage of lactase causes tummy troubles, but if you can’t make it yourself you can still do dairy. How ? Borrow it from your bacteria.
The amount of iron in human breast milk, is deliberately kept low. The amount of iron in baby formula, is deliberately high. This mismatch has consequences.
A baby being fed soy-based formula is being exposed to 13 000 – 22 000 times more “estrogen” than normal, at a time when the brain and body is still developing.