Why US baby formula isn't the best choice for your baby

Posted by Jane White on

We are often taught to trust the institutions in our country and that is fine, but in some fields the laws aren't so strict. Baby formulas are one of them. The reality is that even the foods we are feeding to our littlest citizens are often full of ingredients which can harm their health. Our country is plagued by childhood obesity, childhood diabetes and a myriad of allergies and illnesses. If we want to protect our children from illness, the very first place we have to look is at the food they are eating. When breastfeeding is not a possibility, this includes looking at infant formulas. 

Problematic ingredients inside US baby formula

The list of problematic ingredients in most infant formulas, that can cause health issues, is alarmingly long. Before you feed your baby, take a look at the back of the formula can. If any of these things are in your formula, you should consider switching brands, rather than exposing your child to these problematic ingredients.

  • Hidden Ingredients: Especially if you are using a formula that is not certified organic, you are risking your baby being exposed to several hidden health dangers. There include: GMOs, especially in soy and corn ingredients; pesticide and herbicide residues, hormones, antibiotics, steroids and industrial processing chemicals.

  • Sugar: The only carbohydrate young infants were ever meant to eat is lactose, the sugar found in human and animal milks. Added sugars in infant formula can predispose infants to insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity, as their bodies have trouble processing sugars other than lactose. Lactose is a primary food for good gut bacteria, an essential part of an infant’s immune system. Whereas other sugars can kill off colonies of good bacteria, lactose supports them. Formulas often contain one or more of the following: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, glucose syrup solids, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, brown rice syrup, or sugar (table sugar). For more information on the sugars in formula see this article.

  • Soy: Soy ingredients are found in most American formulas. Soy ingredients are often GMO and contain phytoestrogens, which can have adverse effects on a baby’s developing endocrine system. Specifically affecting estrogen levels. The two main ingredients most often found in formula are soy lecithin and soy oil. A note on soy lecithin: Though generally thought of to be a fairly innocent thickening agent, in the United States, Soy lecithin is generally processed with hexane, a dangerous neurotoxic chemical byproduct of the gasoline industry.

  • L-methionine in Soy Formula: Soy based formulas are often recommended for infants who have trouble digesting cow milk proteins or who are lactose intolerant. Because soy is not a complete protein, it lacks some of the essential amino acids needed in the human diet. In both organic and non-organic soy formulas, a synthetic form of the amino acid l-methionine is added to provide that essential nutrient. However, synthetic l-methionine is produced using toxic air pollutants such as hydrogen cyanide. Though the process is prohibited by European organic standards, companies in the United States can still produce “organic” formula containing this ingredient. 

  • Carrageenan: Carrageenan is a thickener used in many foods. This seaweed derived additive is found in many products, including formula. Carrageenan has been shown to cause intestinal inflammation and even colon tumors. Carrageenan has been outlawed in Europe, however it can still be found in many non-organic and organic formulas produced in the United States. 

  • DHA/ARA: These are two healthy fats in the Omega 3 and 6 family. They are found in breastmilk. The DHA and ARA in breastmilk have been shown to aid in brain development. Formula companies, in their quest to emulate breastmilk, have added them to their formulas. However, the DHA and ARA they use are extracted from algae and fungus using the neurotoxic solvent hexane. Lab produced DHA and ARA are often associated with stomach upset, diarrhea, and excess gas. Algal and Fungal DHA and ARA are also different in structure to that found in breastmilk, and have not been proven to have the same beneficial effects. For more on why synthetic DHA and ARA are such a problem see this article. 

  • Synthetic Preservatives: Because formulas contain fats, especially DHA and ARA, many of them also have added synthetic preservatives to keep the fat from spoiling. One such preservative is ascorbic palmitate. Synthetic preservatives can cause multiple sensitivities in you baby. 

  • Synthetic nutrients: In an attempt to make formulas seem healthier, many companies add synthetic nutrients to their formulas. As with most synthetic additives, these nutrients are all processed with chemicals which make their way into the formula.
+ l-carnitine is a synthetic nutrient which has been banned by the National Organic Standards Board because of concerns over carcinogenic effects. 

+ Taurine is a synthetic nutrient processed with sulfuric acid which is carcinogenic. 

+ Lutein is a synthetic derivative of marigolds which is extracted using the neurotoxin hexane.

+ Lycopene is produced with neurotoxic toluene, a benzene derivative. 

+ Nucleotides are produced from chemically treated yeast. 

The Solution - Organic Baby Formula

The first step in avoiding problematic ingredients in your infant formula is to buy organic formula. Certified organic formulas are held to a higher standards than regular formulas. Organic products contain far less chemicals. Organic ingredients do not contain hormones, pesticides, herbicides, steroids or GMOs in the United States. Many organic companies that produce infant formula are more conscious about infant health issues as well. However, in the United States, even organic formulas can still contain many of the above ingredients.

 

To fully avoid these ingredients, we have to look to the European Union. Not only does the European Union have stricter laws for organic certification, and bans on GMOs, but they also have much stricter laws regarding what ingredients can be used in products meant for children. In the EU it is illegal to add several of the above ingredients, including sugars and chemically processed ingredients, to infant formulas. With that in mind, take a look at what organic means.

What is organic formula and how to recognize it?

Many people get confused about what organic actually means. For a product to be labeled organic, it must undergo specific government regulated certification. The certification generally includes insuring that the products being certified do not contain specific chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and GMO ingredients. This does not always apply to chemicals that are used in some of the processing of certain ingredients, like hexane in DHA and ARA. It also does not include regulations about how animals are treated.  

When choosing an infant formula, it is also important to understand that different countries have different organic certification standards. As mentioned, the European Union has stricter standards for its organic certification than the United States. They also have other certifications that manufacturers located in Europe can obtain. Certifications such as bio-dynamic and Demeter farm certifications take organic to a new level and include treatment of animals and sustainability practices which can greatly affect the quality and nutrition content of foods. For more information on these certifications see this article.       

Organic products have labeling that indicated that they are certified organic. In the United States, products labeled organic will often have the USDA Organic seal or other organic certification seal on the label. In Europe, the European Union star leaf indicated products as being certified organic. There are also specific seals for Bio and Demeter certifications. Look for these labels on your infant formula to insure that you are getting the real deal. For more information on the difference between US and EU organics, see this article. We hope that you now understand the importance of giving organic formula to your baby. Now you just need to decide which manufacturer suits you and your babies tummy.

Premium Organic Formula Manufacturers from the EU

It can seem really challenging to find an infant formula without all of the unhealthy added ingredients. Thankfully, with the strict regulations of the European Union and the dedication of many European organic farmers to bio-dynamic and Demeter farming practices, there are a few good options available. The following 4 companies offer a wide variety of organic baby formula. Just about everyone can find something that works for their situation among these four companies.    

  • HiPP offers the widest selection of products to meet the needs of every baby. Whether you need a formula to support breastfeeding; a formula for a specific health need like allergies, reflux or sensitive stomach; or just want to support your baby’s gut during the early years, HiPP has something for everyone. HiPP is committed to bringing you high quality, pure, organic nutrition; and several of their products come as close to breast milk as you can get.

  • The Holle company is one of the oldest formula companies in Europe. They produce both cow and goat milk formulas that contain nothing but the essentials that your baby needs to grow strong and healthy. Holle is committed to producing pure, simple, nutritious products for your baby.


  • Lebenswert
    is a company owned by Holle. Though they are newer to the Organic formula scene, they are producing an equally pure and nutritious product that you can trust.

  • Babylove is a formula brand which is commonly carried in European drugstores. It stands out as being one of the only formulas (beside some of the HiPP formulas) which has probiotic cultures in it. Babylove is a simple and pure formula that nourishes both body and gut. It is a great, lower cost choice for those seeking purity, simplicity, and comprehensive nutrition. For more on Babylove, see this article.  

For more information on how organic formulas compare, see this article. 

For more information on all of our European made formulas, see this article.

Don’t let big formula companies bully you into thinking you have no choice when it comes to unhealthy ingredients. Choose a European made formula for simple, pure, organic nutrition you can trust.

OK! Does any organic formula stands out as the best formula?

Well it is hard to say which is the best baby formula between HiPP and Holle products, but the Hipp BIO Combiotic products stand out as those which have the most carefully chosen ingredients and almost all babies accept it without any problems. If you want only the best for your baby, you can buy the HiPP BIO Combiotic products here:

 

 


Notice: If your baby is under 6 months the right product is the "BIO Combiotic PRE" or "BIO Combiotic 1" baby formula. From the 6th until the 10th month the right product is "BIO Combiotic 2". From the 10th month the right product is "BIO Combiotic 3".

Jenny Radic, food journalist about My Organic Formula

"This spring I noticed that many new web shops for organic formula were established, because my son was born in March and I was searching for the best organic formula on the market, because I can't breastfeed. I was confused by the different products and also by the fact that I can't order more than 10 packages at once.

My research led me to My Organic Formula. The main concern I’ve had when looking into ordering overseas is you can’t be certain of delivery times, formula isn’t always in stock, and you have no idea whether your formula will pass through customs inspections that could open, contaminate or irradiate your package. And I completely agree with all of these concerns!

Therefor I was contacting Lukas the owner of My Organic Formula and he was inviting me into their warehouse to answer all the questions I might have. After that meeting any concerns I ever had about their operation was eliminated and I was convinced that Lukas and his Staff of 7 are really aware of what they are doing. My Organic Formula has some of the lowest prices I’ve seen for HiPP, Holle, Lebenswert and Babylove formula sold in the US when purchased with their amazing subscription service (which I would recommend to all mothers). They offer free same-day USPS Priority shipping for orders placed before 12:00 PM PDT on Monday-Saturday. I am confident to say that My Organic Formula is safe, authentic and reliable.

After a long and intensive research and screening process of all US Websites offering German Formulas, I came to the conclusion that there is only one trustworthy online site available, that was really able to prove their sources and quantity of inventory of HiPP, Holle, Lebenswert and Babylove in the US."


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