The stealth villain behind one of today’s most demonized foods
The stealth villain behind one of today’s most demonized foods by Erin Elizabeth – Health Nut News
In the decade between 2006 and 2016, prescriptions in the U.K. for infant formula for babies with cow’s milk allergy rose sixfold, resulting in a sevenfold increase in National Health Service spending on nondairy specialty formulas, yet there’s no evidence that the true prevalence of the condition has increased.
So, what’s going on? Why are pediatricians recommending nondairy formulas at such an increased rate if there’s no need? According to a recent paper by Chris van Tulleken, Ph.D., honorary senior lecturer at University College London, the discrepancy appears to be driven by makers of infant formula.
“Allergy to cow’s milk protein may be acting as a Trojan horse for the $50 billion (£40billion; €44billion) global formula industry to forge relationships with health care professionals in the U.K. and around the world,” Tulleken writes.
“Experts believe these relationships are harmful to the health of mothers and their children, creating a network of conflicted individuals and institutions that has wide ranging effects on research, policy and guidelines. Potential overdiagnosis of the allergy can also have negative effects on breastfeeding.”
Milk Allergy Prevalence Has Remained Steady for Past Decade
I’ve written numerous articles about the influence of funding, and this appears to be a powerful example of what happens when you allow industry to pay for the creation of medical guidelines. According to Tulleken, there’s no evidence showing that milk protein allergy has become more common. In fact, studies published in 2007 and 2016 reveal no significant rise in prevalence.
• In 2007, research estimates of cow’s milk protein allergy ranged from 2 to 7.5 percent. According to the authors, “Differences in diagnostic criteria and study design contribute to the wide range of prevalence estimates and underline the importance of an accurate diagnosis …”
• By 2016, incidence of cow’s milk protein allergy was estimated to be between 5 and 7 percent in formula-fed babies, and 0.5 to 1 percent in breastfed babies.