- The main objective of the study is to evaluate whether protein from dairy-based or meat-based have greater impact on baby's growth
- Infants fed on meat-based solid foods had higher length-for-age compared to the dairy group
- Infants fed on dairy-based solid foods had increased weight-for-length measurements compared to the meat group
Protein is known as the bodybuilding food
. It plays a vital role in growth and development in infants.
The choice of protein intake from solid foods mainly depends on the infant growth and development outcomes during the first year of life, reports a team of researchers from CU School of Medicine.
‘Including adequate levels of protein source in the diet can improve growth in infants.’
The findings of the study are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
, was the first of its kind to estimate the effect of protein from various food sources which may have an impact on growth in formula-fed infants during the first year of life.
These studies can provide evidence-based feeding guidance that can yield long-term benefits for optimal growth and obesity prevention.
Which Type of Protein is Effective in an Infant's Diet?
The study included 64 formula-fed infants, who were equally divided into those who were fed with dairy-based and meat-based in addition to their formula, fruits, vegetables and infant cereals.
"Although breastfeeding should be the norm, a majority of the U.S. infants are formula fed, and limited research has focused on formula-fed infants. We found that the source of protein may have an important role in regulating growth," said Minghua Tang, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, who led the study.
Details of the Study
The research team selected full-term, formula-fed infants who were three to five months old from families in metro Denver. If available, they were screened with a baseline visit and once registered they were randomized into dairy-based and meat-based groups.
- Infants on the meat-based diet complemented their usual eating pattern with commercially available pureed meats
- Infants on the dairy-based diet added infant yogurt, cheese and a powdered concentrate of whey protein
The anthropometric measurements such as length, weight and head circumference of the infants were measured from five to twelve months. Blood samples were collected at the baseline visit and again at the end of the study.
The protein sources did not affect the intake because both groups were informed similar amounts of total calories, protein and fat consumption.
Findings of the Study
From the anthropometric measurement outcomes, meat-based complementary foods promoted greater length.
The study findings revealed the length-for-age increased in the meat group and declined in the dairy group compared to the growth charts.
The weight-for-length measurements, which is similar to a "Body Mass Index" for infants, significantly increased in the dairy group compared with the meat group.
"Infants who consumed meat-based solid foods had a greater length gain while both groups gain similar weight," said Minghua Tang.