Daniel Lemire's blog

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Science and Technology links (July 23 2023)

2 thoughts on “Science and Technology links (July 23 2023)”

  1. Andrew Dalke says:

    A problem with the NOVA classification system is most soy-based products are classified the same as soft drinks, even when the soy-based products are nutritionally comparable to their non-ultra-processed meat counterparts. Grouping the small use of vegan “meats” into the much larger use of sodas, candy, prepackaged meats, sugared yogurts, and mass-produced breads due to how they are produced, then showing that ultra-processed foods as a whole has a higher mortality rate, doesn’t mean that all products in the group contribute equally.

    Similarly, putting infant formula (correctly) into the UPF category due to its manufacturing origins, then castigating the entire UPF category as unhealthy might make people avoid using formula even when its use is appropriate and may not worsen health.

    Also, the study you linked to does not include vegan products or infant formula.

  2. There is strong evidence that infant formula is inferior to milk… it goes back decades…

    Breast milk is the best nutrition for infant growth and development, and is also rich in antibodies that provide the first source of adaptive immunity in a newborn’s intestinal tract. In preterm or low birth weight newborns, a mother’s own milk is the first choice for preterm infants; when it is unavailable, donor breast milk is considered as the next best choice. For healthy newborns whose mothers are unable to provide sufficient breast milk, the current option of choice is infant formula. (Martin et al., 2016)

    Regarding plant-based alternatives, it is a relatively recent development. However, many have expressed specific concerns:

    Not all vegetarian diets necessarily have health benefits, because of potential adverse effects of UPFs on nutritional quality and healthiness of diet. (Gehring et al., 2020)

    Diets based on novel plant-based substitutes were below daily requirements for calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin B12 and exceeded the reference diet for saturated fat, sodium and sugar. Much of the recent focus has been on protein quality and quantity, but our case study highlights the risk of unintentionally increasing undesirable nutrients while reducing the overall nutrient density of the diet when less healthy plant-based substitutes are selected. (Tso and Ford 2021)

    We have no long-term study regarding the health effects of industrially produced soy drinks.