Is there a difference in the development of children drinking cow’s milk and Soya?

Almost every child is given formula milk, because if they only rely on food, it is not enough to meet their daily nutritional needs. However, not all children get the same type of formula milk . There are cow and soy based formula milk. Is there a difference between the benefits of cow’s milk and soybean milk, especially for child development?

Comparing growth and development in children who drink cow’s milk and soybeans

Giving formula milk certainly aims to make children have optimal growth and development. However, not all children can be given the same type of formula milk.

Cow-based formula is often the main choice and soy milk when the child has a cow’s milk allergy, lactose intolerance, or for reasons of a healthy lifestyle, such as vegan or vegetarian.

When comparing children who drank cow’s milk and soybean milk, based on research published in 2017 and discussed in the IDAI webinar, there was no difference in child growth.

This study found that the growth in weight and height and head circumference of children grew and developed at the same rate.

This is consistent with the results of a study by Andres et al. published in 2017 . The study found that children from the two groups of participants who were given cow and soy-based formula experienced growth that was not significantly different or nearly the same. 

The distinguishing factor between soy and cow formula milk

Although there was no significant impact on the growth of drinking cow and soy formula, soy formula can have an advantage due to its fiber content . The fiber content in the soy formula is very beneficial for digestive health .

However, as quoted from a scientific article published by the University of Indonesia , considering that the fiber content in ordinary soy milk is not too high, it is advisable to choose a formula with soy protein isolate that has gone through a process of fortification or nutritional addition.

The formula with soy protein isolate has gone through various processes so that it can provide a more complete and balanced nutritional intake for children, including its fiber content.

Fiber is a source of good bacteria that grows in the digestive tract of your little one and plays a role in maintaining his immune system.

Then, the journal concluded that soy formula with protein isolate can be given to children to support optimal growth and development and maintain digestive health, especially for those who are allergic to drinking cow’s milk-based formulas.

Soya formula and cow formula are differentiated only from the type of protein. Most formulas have been fortified in such a way as to support optimal growth and development of children.

The difference between regular soy milk and soy formula

There is a profound difference between regular or homemade soya milk and soy formula. The following are some of the differences quoted from a study published by the Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) regarding the content between the two milks.

How much nutrition do children need for optimal growth and development?

The nutritional requirements for children are basically the same as for adults. Your little one needs nutrients consisting of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and fat whether it comes from food, soy or cow formula.

It’s just that, the amount needed by children is very dependent on age. You can follow the recommendations based on the 2019 RDA (Nutritional Needs Figures) below:

  • 1-3 years old ; 20 grams of protein, 45 grams of fat, 215 grams of carbohydrates, and 19 grams of fiber.
  • 4-6 years old ; 25 grams of protein, 50 grams of fat, 220 grams of carbohydrates, and 20 grams of fiber.
  • 7-9 years old ; 40 grams of protein, 55 grams of fat, 250 grams of carbohydrates, and 23 grams of fiber.

All these nutrients can come from the food consumed. For example , one banana contains about 3 grams of fiber. Then an example of vegetables with a high enough fiber content such as 70 grams of broccoli has 5 grams of fiber and 150 grams of peas contain 9 grams of fiber.

It is not easy to encourage children to fulfill these daily recommendations if only from food. You need to always make sure every meal contains food sources of fiber.

In addition, you can provide formula milk. However, make sure to choose soy or cow based formulas that are high in fiber because usually the fiber content in formula milk is low.

Formula milk is also generally equipped with various vitamins and minerals that are no less important for children. By providing formula milk, children’s daily nutritional needs tend to be more easily met.

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