Bottle Feeding - Another "100% Complete" Snafu
(Dr. W.) The most vulnerable among us have suffered the most from so-called "100% complete" foods – our children and our pets. Isn't it interesting that we would subject helpless animals and infants to that which we ourselves would never do? We would never eat only one food at every meal.
If it were not so absurd, one could think there is a conspiracy. It would seem that adults are trying to maim and kill their own children and pets?
But that is, of course, not the case if intent is to be measured.
Actually, it is because we care so much for vulnerable creatures that we reach out and seek expert advice and guidance. The food processors and their nutritionists give it and we are comforted. What could be more wonderful than "100% complete"? Problem is, intent does not match result
I've ranted ad nauseum
on the pet food debacle, so let me change gears and pick on baby formulas a bit.
Although modern moms are starting to come around and realize that their breasts are not there just for adornment, and further that they can manufacture the most perfect food ever imagined for infants, it has not always been that way.
Post World War II ushered in the Consumer Age. Why, science seemed to be able to solve virtually any problem, from blowing nations off the map to putting men on the moon. Surely it would be a small feat to create a convenient meal-in-a-bottle for infants, and by so doing free mothers of the nursing "burden."
Well, not only were "100% complete" nursing formulas created, they were practically mandated by the medical community. The modern marvel was also taken abroad and promoted by bribed physicians and nurses in the third world.
Age-old cultural norms of exclusive and extended breastfeeding were disrupted by extensive advertising and persuasion in infant formula-funded hospitals to convert to the new, modern, sterile Western way. Mothers were sent home with a small free supply of formula. But when that ran out – and tragically the mother's milk had dried up while feeding the formulas – the families were unable to afford more formula. This was compounded by lack of adequate refrigeration, sterilization and clean water supplies for mixing formulas. The result? Millions of third world babies died every year from this unnecessary and harmful modern intervention.
Additional risks (all confirmed by medical journal scientific studies) of bottle feeding include: a 50% increased risk of neurological dysfunction, lower levels of cognitive development, higher rates of hospitalization, gastrointestinal illness, and respiratory infections, a 17-fold increased risk of being hospitalized for pneumonia, a 25-30% risk of asthma and later-life allergic disorders, increased rates of cardiovascular disease and over a 50% increased rate of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.
This is not to mention the fact that "100% complete" infant formulas aren't. There are many nutritional problems I have mentioned previously (see Further Reading
below), such as vitamin, mineral and, most importantly, essential fatty acid imbalances. Such inadequacy is to be expected since our knowledge of nutrition is inadequate, not "100% complete."
Inadequate = Inadequate, not adequate.
Nestlé was particularly aggressive with their marketing of infant formulas through gigantic giveaways (getting them "hooked"), medical promotions, "education," and bribes. They were boycotted worldwide in 1977 due to these unethical practices.
The World Health Organization (WHO), as a reaction to the carnage, drafted The International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes
Good for them.
They are a giant step ahead of the pet food regulatory agencies that not only nod to exclusively fed "100% complete" pet foods, but practically mandate them.
The analogy is practically perfect. Singularly fed processed pet foods are just as synthetic and just as disastrous.
So I will follow the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes with an analogous pet food code that would truly make a difference in pet health.
Here would be the analogous processed pet food code by corresponding number:
- 1. No advertising of breast milk substitutes.
- 2. No free samples to mothers.
- 3. No promotion of products through health care facilities.
- 4. No company mother craft nurses to advise mothers.
- 5. No gifts or personal samples to health workers.
- 6. No words or pictures idealizing artificial feeding, including pictures of infants, on the labels of the products.
- 7. Information to health workers should be scientific and factual.
- 8. All information on artificial feeding, including the labels, should explain the benefits of breast-feeding and the costs and hazards associated with artificial feeding.
- 9. Unsuitable products, such as sweetened condensed milk, should not be promoted for babies.
- 1. No advertising of exclusively fed processed pet foods (EFPPF).
- 2. No free samples of EFPPF to pet owners.
- 3. No promotion of EFPPF through veterinary clinics.
- 4. No EFPPF company sales people to advise pet owners.
- 5. No gifts or personal samples of EFPPF to veterinarians, staff or veterinary colleges.
- 6. No words or pictures idealizing EFPPF, or pictures of animals on the products.
- 7. Information to veterinarians should be factual and scientific.
- 8. All information on EFPPFs, including labels, should explain the benefits of fresh, raw, natural feeding and the costs and hazards of artificial EFPPF feeding.
- 9. Unsuitable products containing predominantly food fractions and additives should not be promoted for animals.
In spite of the WHO's Code, one to two million children around the world lose their lives each year due to artificial feeding. (I would argue the same sort of numbers proportionally apply to pets.) Violators of the code include Nestlé, Gerber, Mead Johnson, Wyeth and others. Literature from these companies promotes artificial feeding without recognizing breastfeeding as the optimal form of nutrition for infants (Note that virtually every pet food manufacturer does the same exact thing vis a vis
pet food.) and even suggests that breastfeeding may transmit HIV. Even if there were an increased risk of HIV, the dangers and increased mortality from bottle feeding far outdistance this. Manufacturers promoting the HIV scare don't tell you this flip side. (See Townsend Letter
, 2002; 222:99-100 and Mothering
, 2001; 108.)
The Truth About Pet Foods
Lipid Nutrition: Understanding Fats and Oils in Health and Disease
The Breast – A Marvel in Prevention
Soy Formula Dangers
Breast, Not Udder
Feed Infant Formula and Play Hormone Roulette
Modern Marketing Nonsense
Lipids and Infant Milk
The Questionable Value of Advertising
The Infant Formula Lesson