While the tiny script at the bottom of every formula can notes that “breastfeeding is best for baby,” Similac and other formula brands have been touting the wonders of formula-feeding for years. Now, Similac has taken their product to a whole new level.
The company recently released their product, “Similac Mom,” a formula targeted at pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.That’s right, babies, hand over the bottles, Mom wants some of that yummy goodness, too.
According to the company website, Similac Mom is a “perfect complement to your healthy diet, it’s a ready-to-use beverage that provides complete balanced nutrition packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients as part of a prenatal regimen or after childbirth.” The website notes “key features” of the product, such as protein, calcium, and iron.
So what else does this vitamin-packed drink contain? Sugar. Lots and lots of sugar.
7.75 teaspoons of sugar per single-serving container, to be exact. Plus, drinking one premixed 235 mL bottle “packs the caloric punch of more than a half a litre of sugar enriched, vitamin and protein enhanced, Coca-Cola.”
The website touts that “healthy babies start with healthy moms,” promoting Similac Mom as part of a healthy, balanced diet. The advertisement adds implies that drinking Similac Mom while pregnant will promote healthy brain development in developing babies.
Dr. Shauna Burke, assistant professor and childhood obesity researcher at Ontario’s Western University tweeted about the product: “As if formula companies haven’t gone far enough…targeting pregnant women with a sugar-packed “formula”? Craziness!”
Yonin Freedhoff, family doctor and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa, writes that Similac Moms is a “vitamin-fortified, sugar-water horror show.” Freedhoff, who founded Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute, wrote on his blog:
“Really the only ‘balance‘ I can think of here is balancing the healthy diet rich in essential nutrients with this vitamin-fortified, sugar-water horror show. Because in my books this product is pretty much the opposite of what I would expect a healthy diet rich in essential nutrients to include.”
Freedhoff notes that he contacted product whistle-blower Dr. Burke, asking her what she thought about the product:
“It is in a formula company’s best interest to have women become emotionally attached to their brand as early as possible—to do so during pregnancy makes complete sense from a business perspective. But, given the link between maternal weight status and child obesity risk and the countless benefits associated with exclusive breastfeeding for both mother and baby, this product—marketed as a “nutritional beverage” despite the fact that it contains more sugar than Coca-Cola – makes no sense from a health perspective.”
Mommy forums online have been inundated with questions about the product, with many mothers claiming that their doctors are recommending the “energy” drink. However, it has been noted that women should not take prenatal vitamins while drinking Similac Mom, because of the potential to over-consume certain vitamins, such as folic acid and iron.
Readers: What do you think of Similac’s new product for moms?