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Cow's milk-based formula causes babies to gain weight faster, which leads to higher risk of obesity and diabetes later in life, a new study suggests.
Most of us have heard that formula-fed babies gain more weight than breast-fed infants, but the seven-month study of 64 babies, published in Pediatrics, found that cow's milk-based formula -- the kind most moms use -- made babies two pounds heavier than protein hydrolysates-based formula. Typically, moms only use protein-based formula if the baby is allergic to cow’s milk. (The study didn’t test soy-based formula, which is another popular choice.)
The researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia don’t know exactly why the cow's milk formula had this effect -- it could be because cow's milk is more difficult for the human body to break down. What they do know is that too many babies are obese, and that can lead to greater health risks later in life. "Numerous studies have shown that rapid rates of growth during the first year are linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, mortality," study researcher Julie Mennella told My Health News Daily. "Lifelong heath begins during infancy."
Does this mean all formula-fed babies should be switched to the protein-based kind? Perhaps, if you can afford it (it can cost twice the amount!), but ask your doctor before making any changes.
How did you choose your baby's formula? Chime in below!