Cow’s milk formula linked to baby weight gain

A new study suggests that weight gain in infants fed cow’s milk formula may exhibit faster weight gain than those given formulas not containing cow’s milk or breastfed infants, causing researchers to speculate the type of formula infants are fed on could influence future obesity risk.

Researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center compared infant weight gain in babies given formulas with pre-digested proteins, known as protein hydrolysate formulas with those fed on cow’s milk formula. The protein hydrolysate formulas contain 35% more protein than the ones derived from cow’s milk, and are easier for infants to digest.

56 infants whose mothers had already decided to use formula were selected for the study. 32 of the infants received cow’s milk formula, and 24 were given the PHF varieties. Researchers haven’t pinpointed the exact reason for the result variance, but they presented one theory:

They speculate that the free amino acids in the pre-digested formula did a better job of stimulating receptors in the mouth and gut that signal to the brain that the stomach is full and it’s time to stop eating. Though babies in both groups spent about the same amount of time eating at each feeding (between 11 and 12 minutes), the babies on the PHF formula drank less during that time before pushing the bottle away.

Researchers say the findings require further investigation.