Another day and another pseudo-science article has come to my attention online. This one from the ever-reliable CBC News entitled “Plant-based milk shouldn’t be the main beverage for young children, health experts say”.
According to this article, Canada’s dieticians and paediatricians are unfavourable of the trend of parents feeding their children plant-based milk. One doctor is named – Dr Catherine Pound of the Canadian Paediatric Society. She says that plant-based milks are not fortified and are full of sugar. Now I’ve done some research on this doctor and found that she has published in the area of breastfeeding- More on that later.
She comments on the plant-based food movement and appreciates its benefits in adulthood but recommends that children don’t follow this as they “need the protein”. She believes that by placing children on a plant-based diet is depriving them of important nutrients and proteins. This is where I begin to get confused.
The article states:
“Kids aged two to eight need 13 to 19 grams of protein per day, which can be met with two cups of cow milk or two cups of fortified soy beverage.” (Ignoring the fact that after weaning this protein can come from other sources) But then goes on to say that they (plant milks) are “inappropriate alternatives to cow milk in the first two years,” Why is a woman who has published in the area of breastfeeding considering cow’s milk the standard and plant milk the alternative. Shouldn’t she with her occupation and research history appreciate that cows breastmilk is meant for baby cows and a mother’s milk meant for baby humans. If breastfeeding is not possible I for one would prefer to feed my baby the milk from a plant or a nut rather than the pus and faecal matter contained in the milk of a cow.
Unnamed experts are quoted as saying “The experts say the best foods for growing children are whole, fresh and unprocessed fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, dairy and meats.” This entire article is starting to smell like a sour dairy farmer. They go a long way around but state that feeding a child plant based milks is restricting fat in the first couple of years. They accept that in the cases of allergies that a dietician should be consulted but ignore the fact that dairy intolerance is the rule and not the exception. The joint statement (with absolutely no studies or basis for this) warned (cue buzz word to install fear in anyone reading) that plant based beverages can displace hunger and cause children to eat less food. I have to admit that it caused a little chuckle that through the entire article they point blank refuse to refer to these plant based beverages as what they are – Milk. Soon we’ll have posters encouraging mothers to provide their children with breast based beverages. Apparently farm animals are the only ones who produce milk.
Nowhere in this article is it addressed that humans are not meant to have animal based milk after infancy. We are the only mammals who do this. Many of us use these plant based milks as we have become accustomed to milk based foods from our youth but this reliance on milk is not the norm.
If I have to drink a milk or feed my child milk it will be plant based. The protein is kinder on their tummies and kidneys, coconut and soya milk are in the same league when it comes to fat and many are fortified with all the nutrients and minerals required for children during growth. And if I had a cow I wouldn’t feed its calf my breastmilk.