Low-Protein Formula Slows Weight Gain in Infants of Overweight Mothers

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Infant formulas provide more protein than breast milk. High protein intakes, as well as maternal obesity, are risk factors for later obesity. The present study tested whether a formula with lower protein content slows weight gain of infants of overweight mothers (body mass index [BMI] > 25 kg/m2).


In a randomized double-blind study infants of overweight mothers received from 3 months an experimental (EXPL) formula with 1.65 g of protein/100 kcal (62.8 kcal/100 mL) and containing probiotics, or a control (CTRL) formula with 2.7 g of protein/100 kcal (65.6 kcal/100 mL). Breast-fed infants were studied concurrently. Primary assessment was between 3 and 6 months, although formulas were fed until 12 months. Biomarkers of protein metabolism (blood urea nitrogen, insulin growth factor-1, insulinogenic amino acids) were measured.


Infants fed the low-protein EXPL formula gained less weight between 3 and 6 months (−1.77 g/day, P = 0.024) than infants fed the CTRL formula. In the subgroup of infants of mothers with BMI > 30 kg/m2 the difference was −4.21 g/day (P = 0.017). Weight (P = 0.011) and BMI (P = 0.027) of EXPL infants remained lower than that of CTRL infants until 2 years but were similar to that of breast-fed infants. Blood urea nitrogen, insulin growth factor-1, and insulinogenic amino acids at 6 months were significantly lower in EXPL compared with CTRL.


A low-protein formula with probiotics slowed weight gain between 3 and 6 months in infants of overweight mothers. Weight gain and biomarkers were more like those of breast-fed infants.

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