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  • Virginie Levine

Raising Awareness About Infant Formula

Formula Brands

So much has been said about infant formula, and it is quite nerve-racking to choose the "best" form of diet for one's child. We all rush to organic formulas thinking that's the answer, yet it is nearly impossible to get the best because, in some form of quality, each brand designs its own formulas with ingredients that are, to my sense, inappropriate from a nutritional point of view.

Establishing a valuable nutrition plan is a longterm investment for our children's health and #1 priority.

Similac Soy Isomil Baby Formula

Last night I prepared my new clients' little 8 weeks old his bottle with the Similac soy-based formula, and of course, I read the list of ingredients. I say "of course" because it is second nature, I read everything I ought to buy. So here again, I am being the devil's advocate and raising the flag of awareness for some. If you find yourself in the fog of wondering if this baby-formula will resolve your baby's gastric issues, the answer lies in much more than just reading the front of a well-marketed label but more innuendo, paying attention to the back, the fine prints of the ingredients list.

You may be Vegan and raising your family accordingly, or your pediatrician suggests you give a try for soy-based formula instead of cow, so your little one can have it easier on his digestion. But do you know that this the very ingredients present in most organic and non-organic brands that your baby's health will most likely be affected? We have evidence that these ingredients are linked to diabetes, asthma, behavioral disorders, and without saying that we load our baby's bodies with toxicity from genetically modified fed cows or grown beet, soy, and corn. Without mentioning the medicated cows that produce our milk. Insane, right?!

You must read the formula label list of ingredients!

If you look up at the label of that particular brand, I flag these three:

Soy - raises two concerns the GMO soy and the protein isolate

Maltodextrin - corn sugar + thickening agent

Corn Syrup - sugar from most likely GMO corn, high processing method, pure sugar that raises concerns on babies' insulin level pancreas overworked

Ingredients present in most formulas wether non-organic or organic

I specify this because buying organic does not garantie to be the best and safest. It does not even garantie that all the added ingredients are organic. Again reading the label carefully will help you read through the lines of simple assumptions.

Soy is raising two main concerns, for one the genetically soy modified that is mainly grown in the USA, such as corn and the presence of high level of phytoestrogens in soy-based formulas. Although there is no evidence shown to become toxic in the long term, physicians should consider limiting the use of soy-based formulas to those infants with galactosemia or those who cannot consume dairy-based products for cultural or religious reasons. I found this scientific research article worth your knowledge about the present findings.

Sugars end up in baby formula because sugars are carbohydrates

Maltodextrine - Another common type of corn sugar is corn maltodextrin; pure glucose as carbohydrates, which helps thicken the milk and mask the bad odor and taste of the hydrolized protein.

Corn Syrup - Almost all of the corn in the US is genetically modified. 

The other alarming question that soy-based formula raises is that a babies consume 40% of their calories as pure glucose. Formulas made with corn syrup will have a high glycemic index (way higher than lactose formulas and breast milk). What kind of health consequences this will do in the longterm? Pre-diabetic society, development of auto-immune diseases?

Sugars are easy-to-digest for the immature digestive system of a newborn or infant comparing to animal-based milk.

I don't intend to frazzle you and get you into a panic mode next time you open your pantry or rush to the store. It is better to buy your infant formula in plain awareness, so you can choose wisely and choose your priorities. Unfortunately there's no #1, all formulas have pros and cons. Though, a happy, relaxed baby is what counts at the end of the day. If I were to end this post with a minute-recap take-away memo, here is what I write down for you.


My Minute-Recap Memo

  • Soy often leads to intolerance and allergies in babies

  • Added sugars are presents in infant formula as the main source of carbs and in higher concentration in lactose-free formulas. It elevates to some concerns in the future of children' health

  • Babies digest better the lactose (primary source of energy, carbs) present in breastmilk than in cow's milk

  • Better off choosing GMO free, organic cow's or goat's milks, and lesser corn, starch, and corn maltodextrin sugar added


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