Holle Pre vs Holle 1 Formula

July 21, 2019

Holle Pre vs Holle 1 Formula

Last Updated on April 24th, 2021

Finally.   What you have all been waiting for as you search the internet for the answer to what seems a simple question. Like many American moms just learning about European formula or perhaps just learning about Holle formula, stages of formula is a completely new concept. Even more so, Holle has added the PRE stage, which some other brands do not have. A common assumption is that this must simply mean it comes before stage one...right???


The biggest difference between Holle PRE and Holle Stage One formula is one ingredient ... Maltodextrin!

The Holle PRE stage formula contains NO maltodextrin, but instead substitutes organic lactose to provide additional nutritive content. Holle Stage One formula, on the other hand, does contain maltodextrin.

Not sure what maltodextrin is? No worries, let's dig deeper into what this means in respect to the formula we give our baby.


What is it?

  • Complex carbohydrate
  • Derived from the starch found in plants such as corn, rice, or potatoes (Holle produces Maltodextrin from organic plants)
  • Broken down through a hydrolyzing process
  • Gives energy (It's slower in releasing that energy and often helps babies feel more satisfied longer)
  • Easy to digest
  • Used to thicken formula
  • An alternative to soy-lecithin (which is not found in most EU formulas due to its   negative effects) For more information on Soy - check out our soy blog!

Fun Facts:

  • Maltodextrin is gluten-free in the Holle formula!
  • A   study  of maltodextrin vs. lactose use in formula given to piglets found that piglets fed the maltodextrin formula had higher reference memory scores than the piglets fed the lactose formula. They had a better long term spatial memory for weeks after the end of the intervention as well!

Maltodextrin is used as a sweetener:

Breastmilk, in comparison to cows milk, contains higher levels of the carbohydrate lactose, which means that formula manufacturers must make up the difference of the carbohydrates according to the Global Standard for the Composition of Formula. Many manufacturers have done this by adding plant-based sweeteners instead of the natural sweetener of lactose (as it is much cheaper to manufacture plant-based sweeteners).

What are these other sweeteners used?? Corn syrup, sugar, or brown rice syrup

Technically, maltodextrin falls under this category of plant-based sweeteners as it is derived from corn, rice, or potatoes. Maltodextrin is less sweet than the corn-syrup and brown rice syrup (which in the controversy of making formulas too sweet and starting children's addictions to sweets later in life, this could be a good thing). Due to the ban of sugar in formula in the European Union, maltodextrin also offers a simple alternative to lactose.

In comparison to the corn syrup, sugar, or brown rice syrup, maltodextrin is considered the best of the options. Of course, the very best is the organic lactose and Holle recognizes this by offering that option in their PRE stage of formula.

How do American formulas (organic & non-organic) carbohydrate composition compare with Holle?

Check out the chart below:

Things to be concerned about with Maltodextrin:

  1. According to a 2012  study  published in PLoS ONE, maltodextrin can change gut bacteria composition. First, it can suppress the growth of probiotics in your digestive system, which are important for immune system function. Secondly, maltodextrin can increase the growth of an E. coli strain associated with  Crohn’s disease. If your baby is at risk for developing an autoimmune or digestive    disorder, then avoiding maltodextrin may be a good idea.
    • Keep in mind, this study was performed to find the effects of thickeners such as maltodextrin on patients with Crohn’s disease. The overall effect of maltodextrin on the general population has not been strongly linked to causing any disorders, which is why it is still considered safe to consume.
  2. Maltodextrin has a higher glycemic index than table sugar, which can cause spikes in blood sugar    shortly after being consumed. This can be dangerous in people with diabetes. If diabetes is a concern in your family, avoiding maltodextrin might be advisable.



  • Whole milk for lactose
  • No maltodextrin
  • DHA for brain development
  • Biodynamic, Demeter, and Organic Certified (Organic ++)
  • Chemical-free farming and positive animal husbandry

Other components of Holle formula



  • Necessary component for the formula. One of the main ingredients.
  • Holle PRE uses whole milk, whereas Holle Stage One uses skimmed milk.



  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin E

  • Vitamin A

  • Vitamin B6

  • Vitamin K

  • Vitamin D

Vegetable Oils

Fat Content

  • Holle uses palm oil, rapeseed oil, and sunflower oil
  • The necessary fats for baby

Folic Acid & DHA

Vitamin / Nutrient

  • Folic Acid helps with baby's brain and spine development
  • DHA, derived from fish oil, helps with brain development

Whey Powder


  • Less likely to be trigger for an allergy
  • Used in formula to help with acid reflux and spit-up
    • Helps empty stomach faster so it isn't coming back up because it stays in liquid form throughout the digestive process
  • Partly hydrolyzed - which means it is broken down into smaller parts to make it easier for baby to digest

To read more about whey protein, you can check out this article here.

Why is Holle great?

Check out this informative video!

To sum up why Holle formula is GREAT:

  • Holle is certified organic AND biodynamic (which has a positive environmental impact and is like organic-plus)
  • Organic palm oil is produced in sustainable plantations in Colombia, taking into account social and ecological considerations
  • There are no genetically modified ingredients (GMOs)
  • No artificial chemicals or preservatives
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • Natural animal husbandry
  • No painful dehorning of cows
  • Strict adherence to EU standards
  • Comprehensive quality control
  • Long history of successful business since 1933

And in case you are still curious as to WHY they decided to be different and make up their own stage of formula, the answer is actually more simple than you might think. Due to the controversy of maltodextrin in baby formula, Holle wanted to give their customers an alternative option. And since this option was for the same stage as Holle Stage One, a new name had to be created. So Holle PRE it is.

Decision time!

Holle Stage PRE Formula

  • NO maltodextrin, uses more lactose instead - making this a whole milk version of baby formula
  • From birth to 6 months

Holle Bio Stage 1 Formula

  • Uses maltodextrin
  • From birth to 6 months

Top Formula for Lactose Sensitive Baby:



  • Organic Skimmed Milk
  • Maltodextrin for thickener
  • DHA for brain development
  • Biodynamic, Demeter, and Organic Certified (Organic ++)
  • Chemical-free farming and positive animal husbandry

So which do you choose? It's up to you and whether or not you would like maltodextrin in your baby formula.

Feel free to share your decision in the comments below :)

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