It’s no secret that I am a fan of healthy, homemade foods. We don’t particularly care for processed foods. We also try to avoid ingredients that do not come with health attributes. When you have a child that is tube fed or needs a supplement to help encourage adequate growth, the medical world is quick to recommend Pediasure or a similar “formula”. Let’s look at the ingredients of Pediasure:
(from the Pediasure website)
Water, Corn Maltodextrin, Sugar, Blend of Vegetable Oils (Canola, Corn), Milk Protein Concentrate, Soy Protein Isolate, Nonfat Milk. Less than 0.5% of: Natural & Artificial Flavor, Cellulose Gel, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Phosphate, Calcium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Tuna Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Carrageenan, Potassium Hydroxide, Inositol, Taurine, Stevia Leaf Extract, Ferrous Sulfate, Monk Fruit Extract, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, L-Carnitine, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacinamide, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Lutein, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenate, Sodium Molybdate, Phylloquinone, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin B12.
Contains milk and soy ingredients.
CONTAINS MILK INGREDIENTS, CONTAINS SOY INGREDIENTS, GLUTEN-FREE, HALAL, KOSHER DAIRY, SUITABLE FOR LACTOSE INTOLERANCE, NOT FOR GALACTOSEMIA
Water: no issue with that.
Corn Maltodextrin: (from http://www.grainprocessing.com) MALTRIN® is the registered trademark for maltodextrins and corn syrup solids produced by Grain Processing Corporation (GPC). The production process of MALTRIN® maltodextrins and corn syrup solids begins with corn starch slurry from the wet milling operation. The starch in water slurry is hydrolyzed with food grade acids and/or enzymes. The hydrolysis is controlled to achieve the desired end point. The resulting syrup is then refined by filtering and carbon treatment prior to spray drying. The spray-dried powder is packaged or agglomerated and packaged.
Sugar: I’m guessing we all know what that is.
Blend of vegetable oils (canola, corn): vegetable oils are not a healthy product. Both canola and corn are likely GMO. Wellness Mama does a good job of explaining why vegetables oils are not healthy.
Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC): (according to Wiki) To make milk protein concentrate, whole milk is first separated into cream and skim milk. The skim milk is then fractionated using ultrafiltration to make a skim concentrate that is lactose-reduced. This process separates milk components according to their molecular size. Milk then passes through a membrane that allows some of the lactose, minerals, and water to cross through. The casein and whey proteins, however, will not pass through the membrane due to their larger molecular size. The proteins, lactose, and minerals that do not go through the membrane are then spray dried. Spray drying and evaporation further concentrate the remaining materials to form a powder. Depending on the purpose of the final product, different heat treatments can be used to process ultrafiltered or blended varieties of MPC. An MPC product processed with low heat will maintain higher nutritional value.
Dairy is protected from imported products by tariffs, MPC does not have those protections and as such is often IMPORTED. MPC’s are largely unregulated. These are big concerns in addition to the health concerns around the processing of the milk inot MPC.
Soy Protein Isolate (SPI): Even for those that think soy has a place in the diet, most are in agreement that SPI is bad news and should be avoided. The soybeans are chemically processed to create the isolate and therefore stripped of all the other nutritionally benefits of the original bean. Aluminum and hexane are used in the chemical extraction process and is likely to leave behind at least some of this “toxic bath”. Over 90% of the soybeans in the US is GMO- so the SPI is likely GMO.
Nonfat milk: What is the benefit of removing the healthy fat from milk and replacing it with vegetable oils? This is a mentality that I will never understand. I’ll let The Healthy Home Economist give you the fat on skim milk.
I’m not going to break down each of the fillers and vitamins listed– let’s just say– chemically produced vitamins are not ideal for your body. The tuna oil has hexane concerns and artificial flavors- well, the name says it all.
Now, we have an idea as to why Pediasure is less than ideal as a source of nutrition for your child. What do you use instead?
For a tube dependent child (or adult): a home blended diet is an excellent choice! The gtube is just another route to the stomach. Nourish and Liquid Hope by Functional Formularies are the best “formula” options out there- they are real, organic, whole food in liquid form. Real Food Blends is a pre-blended and packaged liquid food (but it’s not organic).
For a child that is tube dependent or just needs a little extra insurance, you can make your own healthy nutritional insurance drinks (aka healthy, homemade Pediasure).
The purpose of the nutrition drink is to increase nutrient density over milk (or milk substitutes). Elizabeth is volume sensitive and we are working on oral eating skills so that we can tube wean– this means we need to pack the most nutrition into a smaller package to make it easier for her to meet her daily needs. q12
LIZZIE’S HEALTHY HOMEMADE NUTRITION DRINK
8 oz raw goat milk
1Tbs coconut cream (with no fillers)
1/2 small banana (about 3″ of banana)
1/2 Tbs ground chia seeds
1/2 Tbs nut or seed butter of choice
***optional flavoring add ins for oral drinkers:***
Anything goes here really!
1-2 tsp cocoa powder (use peanut as your nut butter for a peanut butter cup treat!)
1/2 tsp vanilla with or without cinnamon
SweetLeaf stevia drops of choice
***Nutrition Information- makes about 12oz: ***
382 calories. (255 per 8oz)
25g fat (17g per 8oz) from coconut, chia, and nuts: these are healthy, amazing fats- wonderful for brain development!
31g carbs (7 g fiber, 17g sugars from milk and banana) (21g per 8oz)
13g protein (9g per 8oz) from goat milk, chia, and nuts
Pediasure nutrition information per 8oz (from their website)
9g fat from vegetable oils
33 g carbs (12 g sugar from SUGAR, >1g fiber)
7 g protein from MPC