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Children grow less if they get vegetable milk instead of cow's milk
Milk used to be the epitome of healthy eating. But there is now a dispute over whether milk is healthy or harmful. Plant alternatives to cow's milk have been experiencing a real boom since then. Canadian scientists are now reporting that the new trend in children can have undesirable effects.
Herbal alternatives to cow's milk
Some people rely on plant-based milk alternatives because they want to eat without animal products if possible. For others, health issues or intolerance, such as lactose intolerance, play a role. However, researchers from Canada are now reporting that milk substitute drinks made from soy or cereals can lead to undesirable effects in children.
Inhibited growth through plant-based milk alternatives
According to a recent study by pediatrician Jonathon Maguire from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, drinking herbal substitutes may appear to have undesirable effects.
According to a hospital announcement, children who drink cow's milk are taller than their peers who consume the alternative products.
The results of the investigation have now been published in the "American Journal of Nutrition".
Data from more than 5,000 children evaluated
For the examination, the team led by the doctor from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto evaluated the size data of a total of 5,034 children between the ages of two and six. 92 percent of the subjects drank cow's milk every day, 13 percent only the vegetable variants.
The team concluded that the less cow's milk they consumed, the smaller the child.
Accordingly, three-year-olds who drank three cups of 250 ml milk from soy, almonds or cereals a day were on average 1.5 centimeters smaller than their peers who consumed as many cups of cow's milk.
Children who received both cow's milk and herbal substitutes were also on average smaller than their peers.
Proteins and fats in cow's milk could be the cause
The researchers did not investigate the reasons for the inhibited growth due to milk replacement products in this study. But it is believed that fats and proteins contained in cow's milk play a role.
"The nutritional content of cow's milk is regulated in the United States and Canada, while the nutritional values of most non-cow's milk products are not," said Jonathon Maguire, according to St. Michael’s Hospital.
"The lack of regulation means that the nutrient content varies greatly from one non-cow's milk product to another, especially with regard to the amount of proteins and fat," the expert continued.
According to Maguire, two cups of cow's milk would contain 16 grams of protein, which covers 100 percent of the daily protein requirement for a three-year-old child.
Two cups of almond milk drink, on the other hand, would typically only contain four grams of protein and could therefore only cover 25 percent of a three-year-old's daily protein requirement.
Only if there are medical reasons
According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), babies should only be fed plant-based milk alternatives in exceptional cases.
So said the President of the BfR, Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, in a message: "Baby formula and follow-on formula made from soy protein should only be given if there are medical reasons, and only under medical supervision."
And cow's milk should also be fed to small children at the earliest from the sixth month - in small quantities - according to the German Society for Nutrition (DGE). (no, ad)