Unlike the United States, European formula manufacturers are not allowed to use corn syrup, glucose, fructose, rice syrup, or sucrose.
Although the long-term health impacts of consuming sucrose, corn syrup, and non milk-based sugars in infancy have yet to be fully understood, we know that there is a link with obesity, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and diabetes.
European baby formula uses lactose, often referred to as milk sugar, as the main carbohydrate. Just like breastmilk, lactose sweetness ensures that your baby will eagerly devour each bottle while receiving all the energy needed to grow and develop organically without harmful health implications.
Many American formulas contain carrageenan. This substance is an extract of a type of seaweed, and it is used as a thickener in baby formula. It has been banned in Europe because of inflammation properties in joints, muscles, and most prominently the digestive system.
Even though American baby formula manufacturers frequently label products containing carrageenan as "natural” or “organic,” this extract is a potent pro-inflammatory substance which promotes irritable bowel syndrome, colic ,and some studies indicate that, in daily amounts, can even cause colon cancer.
Banned by the EU but found in American baby formulas as an alternative to cow’s milk-based formula is soy.
Top 3 Reasons to reconsider using a soy-based baby formula are:
- Phytic Acid - present in the outer protective covering soy and blocks the absorption of critical minerals required for optimal brain and neurological development.
- Trypsin Inhibitors - found in large amounts inside soybeans; hinders digestion and absorption of nutrients needed for normal growth and development of the brain.
Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens called isoflavones) - contains up to 4,500 times the level of phytoestrogens found in cow’s milk or breastmilk; phytoestrogens are potent human endocrine disruptors.
Due to unknown and known longer term effects of soy in infants, it is generally not recommended and should be the very last resort in infant nutrition.
Synthetic and Artificial
Here are some of the other potentially dangerous ingredients that have been banned from European formulas, but can be found in American baby formulas:
- Beta carotene
- Ascorbyl palmitate