One of These Formulas Is Not Like the Other

Study finds cow's milk-based baby formulas lead to weight gain in infants

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A new study from the Monell Chemical Senses Center has found that different baby formulas have varying effects on weight gain in infants.

These findings are alarming because infantile weight gain can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other diseases as the baby grows older.

According to Julie Mennella, Ph.D., developmental psychobiologist at Monell and lead author of the study, researchers already knew that formula-fed babies gain more weight than breast-fed babies. However, they did not know if this was the case for all baby formulas.

In conducting the study, researchers assigned either one of two formulas to infants of mothers who already decided to breast feed. Of 59 participants, 35 infants were fed a cow's milk-based formula for seven months while the other 24 infants were fed a protein hydrolysate formula, a type of formula which contains pre-digested proteins. The authors believed that infants who were fed formulas containing pre-digested proteins would have a decreased appetite than those feeding on the cow's milk-based formula.

Weighing the babies once a month throughout the seven month testing period, the researchers found that infants fed with the protein hydrolysate formula gained weight at a slower rate than infants fed with cow's milk formula, even though both formulas contained the same amount of calories. The researchers also observed that the growth patterns of the protein hydrolysate infants and of breast-fed infants were very similar. The authors say this similarity results because the protein hydrolysate infants eat less formula each feeding session.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 28, 2010
Last Updated:
December 29, 2010