NO SURPRISE HERE
BABY FORMULA MAKERS HAVE BEEN LYING TO YOU FOR YEARS
Baby Formula is an interesting topic in its own right because since it was first introduced for commercial production back in the latter 1800's, it has largely been marketed on the premise it's superior to mother's milk. For instance, chapter 3 of a 2004 book called Infant Formula: Evaluating the Safety of New Ingredients, says that, "Soy formulas now account for about 40 percent of formula sales in the United States." That's fantastic! If you happen to be a soybean farmer or commodities trader. Otherwise, IT'S WORSE THAN YOU COULD EVEN IMAGINE!
Because of this historical emphasis from the medical community on formula being better than mother's milk, we saw a steady decline in the nation's percentage of infants being breast fed --- particularly after the first few months. This is only recently being reversed. Unfortunately, it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Case in point, the recent study from the British Medical Journal (Hydrolysed Formula and Risk of Allergic or Autoimmune Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis).
Over a dozen medical doctors and researchers (and a few medical students) analyzed 52 studies that involved over 19,000 infants from 1946 (the year after WWII ended) to the present, trying to determine whether or not hypo-allergenic infant formulas were really hypo-allergenic. What did they find? Amazingly enough, they found that babies fed these hypo-allergenic formulas rarely if ever developed allergies or autoimmune diseases. Hold on. Wait a minute. That's what the manufactures of these products have always wanted people to believe. What the researchers actually found was that.......
"There was no evidence to support the health claim approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that a partially hydrolysed formula could reduce the risk of eczema nor the conclusion of the Cochrane review that hydrolysed formula could [improve] allergy to cows’ milk. These findings do not support current guidelines that recommend the use of hydrolysed formula to prevent allergic disease [ASTHMA, RHINITIS, ECZEMA, FOOD ALLERGIES, TYPE I DIABETES, etc] in high risk infants. Our findings conflict with current international guidelines, in which hydrolysed formula is widely recommended for young formula fed infants with a family history of allergic disease."
In other words folks, you've been lied to by both COCHRANE and the FDA (In Cochrane's defense, they found the evidence to be moderate to weak. There is no excuse for the FDA). Which begs a couple of questions. What exactly is "Hydrolyzed Infant Formula" and how much money is as stake?
Before I answer that, let me give you a brief history of Infant Formula.
THE SORDID HISTORY OF INFANT FORMULA
"If you are a 'mature' pediatrician—one older than 40 years or so—there is a good chance that, if you were not breastfed as an infant, you were fed a formula created by mixing 13 oz of evaporated milk with 19 oz of water and two tablespoons of either corn syrup or table sugar." Dr. Andrew Schuman from the opening paragraph of the February, 2003 issue of Contemporary Pediatrics (A Concise History of Infant Formula --- Twists and Turns Included)
"Convincing doctors of the virtues of artificial milks — or at least neutralizing their resistance — is the key to establishing bottlefeeding. Babymilk companies spend untold millions of dollars subsidizing office furnishings, research projects, gifts, conferences, publications and travel junkets of the medical profession. The American Academy of Pediatrics received a renewable $1 million grant from Abbot Laboratories. The purpose is to generate physician good will toward the company and its products. An Abbott Laboratories trade publication states, ‘In effect, we are striving to make the physician a low-pressure salesman for Abbott’. And of course it is the ordinary purchaser of artificial babymilk who must pay a portion of the cost of every cocktail that a doctor sips at conventions like the recent ‘Ski-and-Study’ symposium at a California mountain resort which Abbott Laboratories helped finance. The tactics work. Physicians continue to allow free infant formula samples to be distributed despite the evidence that this discourages breastfeeding." Taken from Edward Bauer's piece in the April 1982 issue of New Internationalist called Babies Means Business
The end of WWII ushered in a time of great change in America. The pessimism and hardship that characterized the war years (1941 -1945) as well as the dust bowl years of the Great Depression (otherwise known as the "Dirty Thirties") --- left people with a feeling of unbridled optimism. Economies exploded as huge industrial growth took place. Millions of soldiers took advantage of the GI Bill to return to school and advance their education. Because of this bright outlook on the future, people were no longer afraid to have children. This helped to bring about what's come to be known as the "Baby Boom". The combination of increasing incomes and lots of babies saw the creation of a new market --- the market for Infant Formula.
Thanks to influence that was bought and paid for by by the food industry, medical schools, and physicians organizations, the Formula Industry began to promote the use of their products not only for women who struggled to nurse, but to women in general. Thanks to an intentional barrage of propaganda, nursing was seen as a sign of poverty --- something that only the poor, minorities, uneducated, or country bumpkins did. On the contrary, the ability to provide your babies with formula showed that you had money, class, dignity, and intelligence. And in similar fashion to the way that our politicians were talking about eradicating sickness and disease through "science" (chiefly VACCINES and ANTIBIOTICS), people were being led to believe that similar scientific breakthroughs had occurred with formula that could actually make the bottle healthier for your baby than nursing.
As bottle-feeding became increasingly popular, it began to be promoted by our government (WIC) as well as being exported around the world --- chiefly to third world countries. One of the biggest health-related scandals of the 20th century concerns the disgusting manner in which Nestle made billions taking it's baby formula business world wide. How was this accomplished in such grand fashion?
- First, they created a market where there was no need for a market. In the vast majority of cases, the last thing these people needed was baby formula, which is exactly what they got.
- Secondly, they convinced these women that they would be like "Western" women if they bottle-fed. Furthermore, they let them know through huge advertising campaigns that this method of feeding their baby was much healthier and could prevent many of the common illnesses these people faced.
- Thirdly, in almost identical fashion to the way drug pushers operate, they provided free samples. They did this through doctors, physician organizations, hospitals, nurses, or salespeople. The sample would often provide just enough days of formula that mother's breast milk would dry up. Then she had no choice but to purchase their product --- a product that took up a huge portion of an impoverished family's income.
What was the result of all this? By the time these women realized they could not afford the formula, it was too late. Usually they ended up diluting it to try and stretch it until they could afford more. The result was the death of infants by the millions. There are any number of books that detail Nestle's culpability in the epidemic of infant and child mortality. You can read about it yourself in THIS 1981 article published in the New York Times. The echos of this scandal are still with us today.
"China is a nation hooked on milk powder, with just a third of its babies exclusively breastfead." From Sarah O'Meara's October 2013 article in The Telegraph called How the Aggressive Formula Industry Spoiled China's Breast Milk
History always seems to repeat itself and the issue of nursing has proven itself no different. As ridiculous as it sounds, there is a growing body of intellectuals (researchers, university professors, M.D.'s, Ph.D's, etc, etc) that are --- I'm not making it up folks --- telling people that the benefits of nursing are overstated and oversold. They claim that what the research really shows is that formula-fed babies seem to grow into healthy adults just as well as breast-fed babies (a great example is Viv Groskop's piece in a Feb 2013 piece in The Guardian called Breast Is Best - Isn't It? Debate Rages Over the Effect on Mother and Child.
I read the article and (sort of) see where they're coming from. But like most myopic ideas about nutrition promoted by the mainstream (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE are a few), they're missing the bigger picture. Today's babies / children are growing up, consuming the vast majority of their calories from soda and heavily-processed junk (HERE) --- a fact touted by research from BMJ that came out just a couple of days ago. Our children also happen to be coming down with Autoimmune Diseases and Chronic Inflammatory Degenerative Diseases such as Arthritis, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, Obesity, and others (HERE) at rates that could not even have been imagined 30 years ago. Breast feeding and nursing expert, Dr. Jack Newman (MD), put this debate into perspective when he stated......
"You don’t have to prove that normal and natural is better than the artificial. You have to prove that the artificial is at least as good as the normal. Demanding that breastfeeding, which is, incidentally, much more than breast milk, be proved better than artificial feeding, is yet another example of turning the world on its head. No thinking scientist would accept that you have to prove that getting to sleep naturally is better than taking a sleeping pill to get to sleep".
I'm not going to get into it very deeply here, but the benefits of nursing are legion. And, like Dr. Newman reveals, these benefits go far beyond the chemical make up of the milk. Besides the proven benefits of the regular skin-to-skin, one-on-one contact that baby has with mom, we know that nursing prevents infectious disease (Beaudry, 1995 and Dewey, 1995), increases the development of the nervous system (Mortensen, 2002), and protects against chronic diseases (Saarinen and Kajosaari, 1995). But the benefits don't end there --- not by a long shot. We can't leave this section without at least mentioning the effect of nursing on Gut Health.
GUT HEALTH is the most critical aspect of your health that you are likely not as aware of as you should be. If you want to really put this issue in perspective, I would suggest spending some time on DR. ART AYERS' site, Cooling Inflammation. Listen to the conclusions of a 2009 study by three RN's (who also happen to have doctorates) published in the Journal of Perinatal Education (A History of Infant Feeding).
"Breastfeeding rates in the United States have decreased significantly in the 21st century, resulting in serious health issues that include atopy, diabetes mellitus, and childhood obesity. Research suggests that breastfeeding prevents adverse health conditions, whereas formula-feeding is linked with their development. This evidence confirms breastfeeding is still the best source of infant nutrition and the safest method of infant feeding."
HYPOALLERGENIC BABY FORMULA
DYSBIOSIS is almost always caused by ANTIBIOTICS, although there are many NON-ANTIBIOTIC DRUGS that can destroy the Microbiome as well. These antibiotics can come from mom's milk, but are mostly the result of what is prescirbed to baby by their physician for things like runny noses or EAR ACHES. In case you were not aware, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE are a few of the studies showing what these drugs do to children that take them --- not only in the present, but for the rest of their lives as well. Oh; in case you were wondering, Vaccines can cause Dysbiosis as well (HERE and HERE are a couple of examples). Once Dysbiosis is off and running, it is fed via THE HIGH-CARB LIFESTYLE lived by the majority of US citizens.
The idea that a certain type of baby formula can create babies with fewer allergies than breast-fed infants is, in all but extremely rare cases, laughable. In the rare case that some sort of formula is necessary, there are actually recipes for doing it yourself. The best? The venerable Dr. Tim O'Shea has one on his website; at the end of an amazing article called PEDIATRICIANS, BRAIN FATS, FORMULA, AND RAW MILK: THE JIG IS UP.
I can't leave this post without a brief discussion of Colic. No one is really sure what Colic is, other than to say it causes crabby, gassy, babies. Although there are any number of websites that give advice (much of it excellent) on things mom can do to make her milk easier for her baby to digest and assimilate, studies usually show that Colic occurs equally in breast fed babies and bottle fed babies. The solution? Read THIS SHORT ARTICLE I wrote on the topic a number of years ago.