News article

Impact of different feeding methods on infants of overweight mothers

Posted:  Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The combination of maternal obesity in early pregnancy and high protein intake in infant formula feeding might predispose an infant to the risk of obesity in later life.

We take a look at two recent studies on this issue:

Impact of Low-Protein Formula on Infants of Overweight Mothers

This study by Inostroza et al, tested whether a formula with lower protein content could slow weight gain in the infants of overweight mothers (body mass index [BMI]>25 kg/m2).

In this randomized double-blind study, infants of overweight mothers received from 3 months an experimental (EXPL) formula with 1.65 g of protein/100 kcal (62.8 kcal/100 mL) and containing probiotics, or a control (CTRL) formula with 2.7 g of protein/100 kcal (65.6 kcal/100 mL). Breast-fed infants were studied concurrently.

Primary assessment was between 3 and 6 months, although formulas were fed until 12 months. Biomarkers of protein metabolism (blood urea nitrogen, insulin growth factor-1, insulinogenic amino acids) were measured.

The study concluded that a low-protein formula with probiotics can slow weight gain between 3 and 6 months in infants of overweight mothers. Typically, these infants can expect weight gain and biomarkers similar to those of breast-fed infants.

Read more about this study

Impact of breast-feeding and high- and low-protein formula on infants from overweight and obese mothers

This study by Martin et al, assessed the impact of breast- or formula-feeding (differing in protein content by 1.65 or 2.7 g/100 kcal) on the metabolism of term infants from overweight and obese mothers.

From birth to 3 months of age, infants received exclusively either breast- or starter formula-feeding and until 6 months, exclusively either a formula designed for this study or breast-feeding. From 6 to 12 months, infants received complementary weaning food. Metabonomics was conducted on the infants’ urine and stool samples collected at the age of 3, 6, and 12 months.

The results showed that infant formula-feeding resulted in higher protein-derived short-chain fatty acids and amino acids in stools. Urine metabonomics revealed a relationship between bacterial processing of dietary proteins and host protein metabolism stimulated with increasing protein content in the formula. Moreover, formula-fed infants were metabolically different from breast-fed infants, at the level of lipid and energy metabolism (carnitines, ketone bodies, and Krebs cycle).

The study concluded that noninvasive urine and stool metabolic monitoring of responses to early nutrition provides relevant read-outs to assess the nutritional requirements for an infant’s growth.

Read more about this study