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Not Soy Good: Soy Baby Formulas And What You Should Know.

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

With more and more moms and dad’s jumping on the “health-kick” bandwagon, watching what they buy and what they eat, and no doubt what they are feeding baby, organic produce, whole grains and soy products have increased in acceptance and popularity. The question remains is how good are they for your baby?

According to nutrition experts, soy-based (infant) formulas are mixtures of soy protein isolate (powdered concentrated soy protein), vegetable oils, sugars, and vitamin and mineral supplements. While most consider it a healthy alternative to breast or cow’s milk, and approximately 20 per cent of today’s infants being relying on it as a main dietary staple, experts advise against the soy-based product(s) unless medically necessary (such as lgE-mediated allergy to milk or a lactose intolerance), or if the child has vegan parents.

According to professionals, human milk is the most highly recommended source of nutrition for infants. Second runner up is (still) cow’s milk, which experts point out is highly fortified with essential nutrients such as iron. And, they note, that the ONLY time soy-based formula becomes an acceptable replacement is when the child exhibits a lactase deficiency. Lactase is the enzyme that aids the digestion of lactose (or sugar) found in both breast and cow’s milk. Yet, they note, that generally speaking a lactose intolerance is extremely rare in infants. They assert that sometimes a child may “develop” a short-term lactase deficiency after severe vomiting or diarrhea. In is in these “extreme” cases that experts attest to the “need” for soy-based formulas, at least until the baby has recuperated.

Infants with lgE mediated allergies to cow’s milk protein may also be candidates for soy-based formulas. Alternatives include putting infants on formulas based on milk products such as casein or whey, both which have been broken down into smaller proteins. While known to be more costly than soy substitutes, professionals point out that they are frequently a safer alternative for cow’s milk generated inflammation of the stomach, which may also be induced by soy formulas.

However, experts emphasize that although some formulas have been blamed for contributing to everything from stunted growth to (premature) sexual maturation, the evidence remains inconclusive. The concerns arise from some animal studies that indicate that phytoestrogens (compounds found in plants that act like human estrogen; soy isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen) may be responsible for lowering fertility and spur changes in uterine and behavioral development. However, a small sampling of human studies found little or no effect of soy on health. Additionally, experts assert that blood levels of soy isoflavones tend to be higher in babies whose diet is primarily comprised of soy-based formula, than in adults who consume soy foods, so, theoretically, may face greater health risks if a link is found in humans.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Not Soy Good: Soy Baby Formulas And What You Should Know.

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