Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements Increase Energy and Macronutrient Intakes from Complementary Food among Malawian Infants1-3

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Abstract

Background:

Low intakes of good-quality complementary foods (CFs) contribute to undernutrition and consequently negatively affect health, growth, and development. Lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNSs) are designed to ensure dietary adequacy in micronutrients and essential fatty acids and to provide some energy and high-quality protein. In populations in which acute energy deficiency is rare, the dose-dependent effect of LNSs on CF intakes is unknown.

Objective:

The objective of this study was to evaluate the difference in energy and macronutrient intakes from CF between a control (no supplement) group and 3 groups that received 10, 20, or 40 g LNS/d.

Methods:

We collected repeated interactive 24-h dietary recalls from caregivers of rural Malawian 9- to 10-mo-old infants (n = 748) to estimate dietary intakes (LNS and all non-breast-milk foods) of energy and macronutrients and their dietary patterns. All infants were participating in a 12-mo randomized controlled trial to investigate the efficacy of various doses of LNS for preventing undernutrition.

Results:

Dietary energy intakes were significantly higher among infants in the LNS intervention groups than in the control group (396, 406, and 388 kcal/d in the 10-, 20-, and 40-g LNS/d groups, respectively, compared with 345 kcal/d; each pairwise P < 0.05), but no significant differences were found in energy intakes between groups who were administered the different LNS doses (10 g LNS/d compared with 20 g LNS/d: P = 0.72; 10 g LNS/d compared with 40 g LNS/d: P ≥ 0.67; 20 g LNS/d compared with 40 g LNS/d: P = 0.94). Intakes of protein and fat were significantly higher in the LNS intervention groups than in the control group. No significant intergroup differences were found in median intakes of energy from non-LNS CFs (357, 347, and 296 kcal/d in the 10-, 20-, and 40-g LNS/d groups, respectively, compared with 345 kcal/d in the control group; P = 0.11).

Conclusion:

LNSs in doses of 10-40 g/d increase intakes of energy and macronutrients among 9- to 10-mo-old Malawian infants, without displacing locally available CFs. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00945698. J Nutr 2016;146:326-34.

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