The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages breastfeeding as the best nutrition for babies. That is not always possible for every mom. Factors such as low milk supply, health conditions, and lifestyle demands lead new parents into feeding babies formula. Parents should feel confident that the formula they are buying is nutritious and wholesome for their baby. Organic baby formula is an alternative that many families have chosen as a healthier option. This article details the 5 ingredients that should not be in your baby’s organic formula.
Recent studies have found that some baby formula companies have allowed dangerous chemicals that are not deemed healthy for your infant in their products. Prolonged exposure to unhealthy substances may lead to health concerns later in life and may cause imbalances in your little one’s natural function. Here are some of the ingredients in baby formula you may want to look out for and avoid:
- Processed or Added Sugars
Milk, whether derived from cow or goat, all contains the same nutritious sugar molecule: lactose. Lactose is naturally occurring to function in unison with the other compounds that make up milk. Adding sugars such as sucrose, fructose, or even corn syrup can potentially lead to imbalances and other health concerns later in life. Imbalances in the gut system are an immediate effect; these added sugars and processed sugars kill off the good bacteria in the gut and allow for the bad bacteria to flourish.
All of this leads to inflammation in the body, causing reactions such as eczema and allergies. Later in life, prolonged imbalances can lead to serious health conditions such as obesity, lupus, anxiety, and depression. The list of reasons why added sugars should be avoided is continuously expanding as more studies emerge on the importance of a healthy gut flora for the foundation of our overall health.
Soy has little nutritional value, and is often used as a filler known as soy lecithin. Soy is not only a common allergen, but is also associated with long term health imbalances and diseases such as hormonal imbalances. American organic formulas allow for a strong presence of soy in their products while European organic formulas do not allow for soy.
In the USA, it is difficult to find products without the use of soy or soy byproducts. Soy produces phytoestrogens in the body that mimic the naturally occurring estrogen hormones in the body. The presence of phytoestrogens in the body raise concerns later in life with reproductive health and breast cancer.
Carrageenan is an additive that is used to thicken and preserve foods and drinks. Starting in the 1960’s, there has been controversy surrounding the health effects of carrageenan. Evidence suggests that carrageenan is inflammatory and toxic to the digestive tract.
Many claim that carrageenan may be responsible for inflammatory diseases such as: colitis, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, and even colon cancer. The Food and Drug Administration unfortunately still approves this ingredient.
- Synthetic Preservatives
Preservatives to look out for include: butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), sodium nitrate, sodium benzoate, and added salt in any form. According to Healthy Child Healthy World, there are certain preservatives and additives that should be avoided.
The riskiest additives are artificial colors and chemical preservatives. These compounds are being added by the manufacturer to increase a product’s shelf life. Artificial preservatives create toxins in the body that may impair cognitive and developmental milestones and cause negative effects on their vision and hearing.
- Artificial DHA/ARA
DHA and ARA are the naturally produced “Omegas” in breast milk. Some formulas use DHA and ARA that are artificially manufactured. The primary concern is that artificial versions are not gathered from safe natural places, and they are generated in the lab. These versions are not deemed safe for human consumption. Some studies even concluded that artificial DHA/ARA may be responsible for several gastrointestinal issues.
Another thing to consider is the primary process of manufacturing and processing the DHA/ARA by using hexane to extract it. Hexane is a petroleum-based solvent, which could cause this oil to end up in the formula and wreak negative effects on the nervous system. If a formula uses hexane extraction in Europe, there are strict regulations to ensure no remnants of hexane remain.
Looking for a quality product for our families is a priority. Sometimes marketing labels are there to only profit monetarily while hiding dangerous and misleading information that can lead to harm. As people become more aware, the faster manufacturers have to act to make way with unethical practices. The European Union and UK have long fought to create a trustworthy standard for food and health, especially in baby products. Many US families have looked to European formulas to nest their children’s nutrition, and others have gracefully made that option possible for other Americans.