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Meat-Based Diet Can Lead To Growth In Infants, New Study Suggests

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Over the years, many still debate about what food to feed the babies during their developmental stages.

Although formula and baby foods are mandatory for the health and nutrition of infants, a new study suggests that adding meat to their diet can also be beneficial to their growth.

Meat-Based Diet For Babies

In a new research that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, infants that are formula-fed can also consume meat as it can be an important source of protein for the child.

Meats, such as pork, can provide micronutrients for the infants and can also be an important complementary food for those who are ready to eat solid foods. Minghua Tang, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver-Anschutz, stated that infants from ages 5 to 12 months old can start eating pureed meat or dairy-based foods.

"Our research suggests introducing higher amounts of protein and introducing meat, such as pork, into the diet at five months could be potentially beneficial for linear growth (length gain)," Tang stated.

Most infants aged between 4 and 6 months old are ready to eat solid foods, especially that this is the time when some women stop breastfeeding their babies. This is also the same time frame when infants no longer use their tongues to push food out of their mouths. They begin to start moving their food from the front to the back of their mouths and learning to swallow.

The Study 

A small group of healthy babies from ages 5 to 12 months old, who consumed formula, was given meat-based complementary food, such as pureed beef and ham. Another group was given certain dairy-based foods.

Prior to this experiment, each of the infants' protein intake was 2 grams per kilogram each day. However, during the experiment, this was increased to 3 grams per kilogram every during the course of the study.

It was noted that even though the protein intake increased, the fat and calories in the meat and dairy groups stayed the same despite the increase in protein.

Researchers saw a greater rate of growth among the infants upon completion of the seven-month study. The infants who consumed meat grew nearly 1 inch with no risk of becoming overweight, compared to the 12-month-olds fed with dairy foods. 

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