Baby milk is not well controlled in clinical trials, according to British researchers

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The baby milk, proposed to new parents to replace breast milk, are not adequately controlled as a whole, and therefore may be accompanied by misleading assurances about their nutritional value, warns a study published today in the British Medical Journal.

These substitutes, for example based on cow’s milk proteins, are an increasingly lucrative market around the world. They mainly promise to provide the baby with a food equivalent to breast milk. Producers must systematically conduct clinical trials to ensure that their product is adequately nourishing the baby.

Nevertheless “these tests are not reliable “, conclude the authors of a study published in BMJ.

“The conclusions are almost always positive”

This study analyzed 125 clinical trials performed from 2015 onwards. In four-fifths of these there were shortcomings, so much so that their conclusions are disputed.

For example, in many tests it is not specified before starting what is to be evaluated. For a clinical trial to be credible, it must instead be clear from the outset about its purpose, otherwise the researcher may be tempted to keep what serves him.

In some other tests arbitrarily excluded infants from the test group. And this can lead to wrong conclusions.

In total, “The conclusions are almost always positive” the authors report, judging that producers are heavily involved in the studies, at the risk of lacking their independence. They also estimate that there are no safety valves in the studies so that infants are not at risk, especially the risk of malnutrition.

“The way (…) the studies are conducted and then published should be changed so that (…) consumers do not receive misleading information,” the researchers conclude.

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