Infant growth patterns affected by type of protein consumed

May 14, 2018, CU Anschutz Medical Campus
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A new study by CU School of Medicine researchers has determined that choices of protein intake from solid foods has a significant impact on infant growth during the first year of life.

The study tested whether dairy-based or meat-based in an infant's diet contributed to and weight gain. Sixty-four formula-fed were involved in the study, with the group evenly divided between those who ate dairy and those who ate meat in addition to their formula, fruits, vegetables and infant cereals.

"Although breastfeeding should be the norm, majority of the U.S. infants are formula fed and limited research has focused on formula-fed infants. We found that the source of protein may have an important role in regulating growth," said Minghua Tang, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, who led the study. "Infants who consumed meat-based solid foods had a greater length gain while both groups gain similar weight."

The study, published recently by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is perhaps the first of its kind to evaluate the effect of protein from different food sources on growth in formula-fed infants during the first year of life. Such studies can provide evidence-based feeding guidance that can yield long-term benefits for optimal growth and obesity prevention.

To conduct the study, the investigators recruited families in metro Denver with full-term, formula-fed infants who were three to five months old. If eligible, they were screened with a baseline visit and once enrolled they were randomized into dairy-based and meat-based groups. Those on the meat-based diet complemented their usual eating with commercially available pureed meats, while the dairy-based added infant yogurt, cheese and a powdered concentrate of whey protein.

From five to 12 months, the infants were measured for length, weight and head circumference. Blood samples were collected at baseline visit and again at the end of the study. Sources of protein did not seem to affect intake because both groups reported similar amounts of total calories, protein and fat consumption.

Based on the measurements, meat-based complementary foods promoted greater length. The analysis showed the length-for-age increased in the meat group and declined in the dairy group relative to the growth charts. At the same time, the weight-for-length measurements, similar to a "Body Mass Index" for infants, significantly increased in the dairy group compared with the meat group.

Explore further: Research explores healthy weight gain in infants

More information: Minghua Tang et al, A meat- or dairy-based complementary diet leads to distinct growth patterns in formula-fed infants: a randomized controlled trial, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2018). DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy038

Related Stories

Research explores healthy weight gain in infants

March 20, 2017
Rapid weight gain in an infant's first six months of life is a risk factor for child- and adulthood obesity, according to researchers.

Early nutrition has a long-term metabolic impact

May 2, 2011
Nutrition during the first days or weeks of life may have long-term consequences on health, potentially via a phenomenon known as the metabolic programming effect, according to a study to be presented Monday, May 2, at the ...

What do American babies eat? A lot depends on Mom's socioeconomic background

October 30, 2014
You have to be at least 2 years old to be covered by U.S. dietary guidelines. For younger babies, no official U.S. guidance exists other than the general recommendation by national and international organizations that mothers ...

Nutrition type affects endocrinology in SGA infants

August 1, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infants who are formula-fed (FOF) have elevated endocrine levels of high-molecular-weight (HMW) adiponectin and insulin growth factor-I (IGF-I) compared with breastfed (BRF) ...

Babies fed soy-based formula have changes in reproductive system tissues

March 12, 2018
Infants who consumed soy-based formula as newborns had differences in some reproductive-system cells and tissues, compared to those who used cow-milk formula or were breastfed, according to a new study. The researchers say ...

Recommended for you

Siblings of children with autism or ADHD are at elevated risk for both disorders

December 10, 2018
Later-born siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at elevated risk for both disorders, a new study led by Meghan Miller, assistant professor in the ...

RSV study reveals age when infants are most vulnerable to asthma

December 5, 2018
New research suggests a maternal vaccination against RSV should be augmented with active immunisation in a child's first two years to reduce the onset of asthma.

The powerful impact of real-world learning experiences for kids

December 4, 2018
Real-world learning experiences, like summer camps, can significantly improve children's knowledge in a matter of just days, a new study suggests.

Mediterranean diet during pregnancy associated with lower risk of accelerated growth

December 4, 2018
The Mediterranean diet is characterised by a high content of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes and nuts. This healthy diet pattern has been associated with lower obesity and cardiometabolic risk in adults, but few studies ...

Global review reports on administration of children's antibiotics

December 4, 2018
Researchers analyzing the sales of oral antibiotics for children in 70 high- and middle-income countries found that consumption varies widely from country to country with little correlation between countries' wealth and the ...

New review highlights importance of good sleep routines for children

December 3, 2018
Sleep hygiene, which includes practices like providing a cool and quiet sleeping environment or reading before bed time to help kids unwind, is increasingly popular among parents looking to ensure their children get a good ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.