Milks of growth: search and compare because not all are equal


The adapted milk has less protein, which facilitates its processing by the baby’s renal system, and less saturated fats. They also have other nutrients deficient in cow’s milk.

All have the same name (growth milk, adapted milk or milk type 3 from one year of age), but in this case, the denomination is the only thing they share. They look the same, but they are very different. The difference is in the composition, extraordinarily heterogeneous. The scientific article Milks of growth. What can they contribute to the diet of the young child ?, published in the journal Acta Pediátrica, details this disparity between the different brands: “In some cases it is similar to that of the continuation formulas, but in others it is more similar to that of cow’s milk. Therefore, the evaluation must be done individually for each brand. ” How to choose well? Experts recommend reading the label, evaluating and comparing.

Types of milk and which is the healthiest

From another parallel comparison between adapted milk and cow’s milk there are two advantages for the first that the decalogue gathers Milks of growth in young children prepared by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) and the Spanish Nutrition Foundation (FEN) . On the one hand, the growth milks have less protein, “since the amount naturally present in cow’s milk is high for young children”, and on the other hand, they have a more balanced fat composition “when incorporating more amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3 DHA) and reduce the content of saturated fat “.

Taking into account these characteristics, is it preferable that children from 12 months old consume cow’s milk or an adapted milk? According to experts, growth milk is the best option because at that age, your renal system has not yet matured enough to process all the proteins and saturated fats that cow’s milk has and also because its overall composition is better adapted to the nutritional needs of the smallest.

The small gesture of changing one glass of milk for another represents a big difference from the nutritional point of view (see graphic). The ideal composition of a growth milk, in addition to less protein, should increase the vitamin D, iron and omega 3 DHA, as well as avoid added sugar. This last aspect is very important because there are some milks that do incorporate them to qualify the flavor provided by other nutrients, such as iron, and others that do not include them completely. However, the decalogue of the AEP and the FEN points out that “as occurs in breast milk, the main sugar of these milks is the lactose present in all dairy products.”

The stage between one and three years is fundamental in children to lay the foundations of an adequate diet. Little by little they must get used to new textures, flavors and all kinds of foods so that they have a healthy development, but the slow and constant growth that they experience during this phase is based on a basic diet: milk. It supposes more than 40% of the nutritional contribution of the children in relation to the rest of foods. The vitamins and minerals it contains make it the most complete food. It is the main source of calcium in the diet and it is considered essential that the child take between three and four servings a day to cover the calcium needs he needs to form his bones and teeth.

Ideally, all children should have a balanced diet that provides them with the nutrients they need, but the reality is very different. The lifestyle of parents, the short time to buy fresh food and cook or the difficult process of adaptation of many children to new foods results in insufficient nutrient intake. In the conclusions of the article of the Pediatric Acta it is noted that “in our environment it is common that some are taken in excess, for example, proteins, or that a percentage ingest insufficient amounts of others, mainly iron, omega 3 DHA and vitamin D” .

Iron is fundamental in cognitive development but, according to experts, 21% of children do not reach the recommended daily intake of this mineral through diet. More than double, 50%, does not take enough omega 3 DHA, which is essential for brain development; and between 75% and 100% follow a diet with insufficient levels of calcium and vitamin D, essential in the growth and development of bones. Before this photograph, the question posed by specialists is how to alleviate this lack of nutrients. There is consensus that adapted milk is a useful and practical option to incorporate them into the child’s diet because milk is already in their daily diet.

In opinion of the specialists, the option of the milk of growth must be valued individually in each child “taking into account the rest of the foods that it receives throughout the day, the habitual follow-up of a balanced diet, the risk of a deficient intake of Some nutrient, or if the child has nutritional risks (children receiving restrictive diets for medical reasons, bad eating or with incorrect nutritional habits not easily correctable), says the article of Pediatric Act. In these cases, the AEP, the FEN and also the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA, for its acronym in English) suggest that adapted milk can be useful to cover nutritional deficiencies.

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