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Can Cow Milk Alternatives Stunt Growth in Children?

Latest research studies conducted on factors that stunts growth in children found that any alternatives to real cow milk can make children shorter. While, a cup of trendy almond milk a day makes children 1.5 cm shorter, a daily one cup of cow’s milk can make children 0.2 cm taller than average.

The study conducted by a group of researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto analysed more than 5,000 children between the ages of 2 and 6. The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Why Cow Milk Alternatives Stunt Child Growth?

Height is an important indicator of children’s overall health and development. Many parents are now choosing non-cow’s milk for their children, which may have lower nutritional content.

The researchers found that the trendy almond milk can stunt your child’s growth by up to 1.5cm, as the non-cow milk alternatives lack the protein and fat needed for development in them. Cow’s milk has 16 grams of protein, while almond milk contains just four grams

Three-year-old’s that drink 3 cups of cow’s milk a day are on average 1.5cm taller than youngsters given trendy milk alternatives.

How the study was carried out?

Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto analysed more than 5,000 children between the ages of two and six. Of the study’s participants, 92 percent drank cow’s milk every day, while 13 percent had non-cow’s milk.

The analysis report found that daily one cup of cow’s milk made the children 0.2cm taller than average, and non-cow’s milk made them 0.4cm shorter than their age’s average. Combining cow’s milk with non-cow’s milk is also found to have some effects in children’s height.

What impact non-milk alternatives could bring in?

When plant-based beverages or drinks like soy milk/ almond milk are the exclusive diet in the first years of life and not consumed as a supplement to formula or breastfeeding, it can result in severe nutritional problems. An 11-month-old baby in Spain diagnosed with scurvy- a rare disease in developed countries, is believed that his almond milk-only diet was to blame.

Scurvy can be caused by a diet deficient in vitamin C. Children most at risk for developing scurvy are those with restrictive diets, such as those with autism.

Conclusion

Cow’s milk has been a reliable source of dietary protein and fat for children, two essential nutrients to ensure proper growth in early childhood. But many parents are now choosing non-cow’s milk for their children, which may have lower nutritional content.

If these milk alternative products are being marketed as equivalent to cow’s milk, you as a consumer or parent, have the rights to know that they are in fact the same in terms of their effect on child growth.

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