Sugar in the Baby Formula?

Organic baby food sounds like a good idea, but The New York Times reveals one potential flaw of some organic baby formulas, sugar cane juice. Julia Moskin reports:
Parents may be buying it because they believe that organic is healthier, but babies may have a reason of their own for preferring Similac Organic: it is significantly sweeter than other formulas. It is the only major brand of organic formula that is sweetened with cane sugar, or sucrose, which is much sweeter than sugars used in other formulas.

No health problems in babies have been associated with Similac Organic. But to pediatricians, there are risks in giving babies cane sugar: Sucrose can harm tooth enamel faster than other sugars; once babies get used to its sweeter taste, they might resist less sweet formulas or solid foods; and some studies suggest that they might overeat, leading to rapid weight gain in the first year, which is often a statistical predictor of childhood obesity.

Asked about these concerns, Carolyn Valek, a spokeswoman for Abbott Nutrition, the division of Abbott Laboratories that makes Similac Organic, said that sucrose had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and was considered “safe and well established.” Ms. Valek said that Similac Organic had no more sweetener than other formulas and that prolonged contact with any kind of sugar could cause tooth decay.

In Europe, where sudden increases in childhood obesity are a pressing public health issue, sucrose-sweetened formulas will be banned by the end of 2009, except when ordered by a doctor for babies with severe allergies. The 27 countries of the European Union adopted the new rules according to the recommendations of the group’s Scientific Committee on Food, which found that sucrose provided no particular nutritional advantages, could, in rare cases, bring about a fatal metabolic disorder, and might lead to overfeeding.
I used to drink a lot of Silk Soymilk, until I found out it’s sweetened with cane juice. So now I only drink it occasionally and when I do, I drink Light Silk. Here’s my fridge:


And honestly, unsweetened almond milk tastes just as good!
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mary - April 27, 2010 4:50 PM

can sugar added to formula, milk and water be harmful to babies who haven't cut their teeth yet? or could it stunt the teething process.

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