Saturday, May 22, 2010

If baby grows ok - diet ok?!

Formula for babies is a very nasty and poor substitute for the real thing. I personally know that it has prevented some babies from dieing as they were going backwards weight wise on breast milk. What actually I find worse is that there is no research about why or how these babies / mum's experience this problem. Billions spent on heart disease but none on the most helpless and available in our social, new borns and their mothers!

Anyway formula manufactures obviously think they are doing a service, otherwise they wouldn't do it. One of the problem in formula is that has no were near as many micro-nutrients and additional healthy factors that breast milk has. Therefore to (a) gain a competitive advantage over other formula's and (b) provide a more healthy formula company's and researches investigate ways of making this formula more nutritious.

The intake of mum's carotenoids (the things that give plants color) determines the types of caroteniods in the breast milk. This is why colostrum can be any color, white (for very low caroteniod diet), yellow, orangey, reddy etc. Lutien being a type of carotenoid is often found in breast milk. Depending on diet of the cow lutein may or may not be present.

Therefore a study investigated the effect of adding lutein to baby formula. This by itself is not particularly not worthy. However one of the key indicators measured in the study was baby's growth. Yes that this is write in 2010 we check to make sure formula is ok by measuring growth of baby.Unsurprisingly there was no differences between the growth of the formula and formula + lutein.

How archaic, how bizarre, how unbelievable that is in this day and age we measured the success of a "food" product. What the heck - lutein clearly doesn't have a role in growth. Surely a better metric would have been antioxidant load of the blood or antioxidant break down in the urine, or some enzymatic function, or eye responsiveness. They did take some blood measurements at the end of the 16 week cycle but none of them seemed relevant.  I can't believe that we would use measure of growth as the standard, it belongs back 100 year ago in the dark ages of nutrition.       

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