Thursday, October 28, 2004

Misleading Antioxidants

A new study published in The Archives of Disease in Childhood reports that breastmilk that has been refrigerated or frozen has lower levels of antioxidants than fresh milk. However, it is important to note, even breastmilk that has been frozen has higher levels of antioxidants than artificial baby milk (formula).

Well, duh. Prety much every fresh fruit or vegetable looses nutrients when frozen, canned, cooked, or processed. And since infant formula contains synthetic vitamins, stands to reason they would not break down as easily. Either in the freezer or in your baby's digestive system or bloodstream. :)

However, I became absolutely livid after reading this headline from The Scotsman:

"Freezing breast milk could harm babies, says new study". Oh, but we don't want to "make women feel guilty" for using formula, which can harm babies even more than freezing milk.

The Wall Street Journal article - which I haven't read (don't have a subscription, and don't want to take the time to fill out a 4+ page questionaire to get a 2-week trial) - reportedly does not mention the low levels of antioxidants in formula, either.

Kudos to The Times (UK) - "Milk of Human Coldness" - whose story included a graphic comparing the fresh, refrigerated, and frozen varieties of both formula and breastmilk. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Here's a sample of how other news sources handled the same information: - "Freezing, refrigerating breast milk lowers its antioxidant content: study"

New York Times/Int'l Herald Tribune - "For a healthier baby, fresh breast milk may be better"

Indy Star - "Breast milk is best if fresh, research finds"

Atlanta Journal-Constitution - "Study: Breast Milk Is Best When Fresh"

Post-Gazette [Pittsburgh] - "Storage depletes breast milk"

Blogging Baby [hey! GoogleNews considers this blog a news source!] - "Breast milk loses antioxidants when stored"

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