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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:56 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6616
Location: Ottawa
After reading the article in Allergic Livings winter 2008 Ask the Dietician and after reading several comments on the forum, I got to wondering why so many Dr's still suggest soy milk for children under 2 instead of some sort of formula.

So I wrote to Health Canada to get the official word from them.
I am finding that many parents of children with allergies to
milk and who are under the age of 2, are being encouraged to switch
from whole milk to soy milk or another milk alternative rather than be
advised to switch to a soy based formula.

This was my experience 5 1/2 years ago and I am finding this is still
happening as evidenced by the Allergic Living internet forum which I
moderate and an article which the magazine with the same name published
Winter 2008.

Is there any way to promote the concept of switching to soy formula or
another formula and not switching to an alternative to milk?

My daughters weight and growth went from being in the 95% to absolutely
no growth or weight gain until I demanded a consultation with a

With the prevalence of food allergies on the on the rise, I feel this
is a timely issue.

Thank you,

Thank you for visiting Health Canada online.

We would like to clarify Health Canada’s position on the use of soy-based formulas in healthy term infants by including sections from Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants, a joint statement from Health Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society and Dietitians of Canada, available at:

Indication for use of a soy-based formula
Despite the wide use of soy protein-based formulas in Canada, indications for their use are limited. Appropriate uses include infants fed vegan diets and infants with galactosemia.

The use of soy protein-based formulas in the dietary management of infants with proven cow's milk allergy, or in the prevention of atopy, is controversial (Johnstone and Roghmann, 1993; Businco et al., 1992). For some infants, there is cross-reactivity between cow's milk protein-based and soy protein formulas (Businco et al., 1992). Evidence demonstrating a reduced prevalence of atopic diseases in high-risk infants fed soy protein-based formulas in the first 6 months of life is not convincing (Businco et al., 1992). It has been estimated that 30% to 40% of infants at risk for atopic disease will be sensitized to soy protein, especially in cases where the small bowel is damaged (Eastham et al., 1982). For infants at high risk of cow's milk protein allergy, the formula of first choice would be a whey- or casein-hydrolysate. Whey-hydrolysate formulas may be better tolerated because of their taste. Infants with documented allergy should receive formula with an extensively hydrolysed source of protein; currently these are casein-hydrolysate formulas. Soy protein-based formulas are inappropriate for either of these indications (Zeiger et al., 1989).

Continued use of soy-based formula until 2 years of age
Soy, rice and other vegetarian beverages, whether or not they are "fortified," are not appropriate alternatives to breast milk or infant formula or to pasteurized whole milk in the first two years. Up to 20% of infants in Canada use soy-based formulas, presumably because of a perceived or real allergy to cow's milk protein. All soy formulas sold in Canada are iron-fortified.

For vegan infants who are not breastfed, commercially prepared soy-based infant formula is recommended during the first 2 years of life to provide adequate nutrients and energy for growth and development.

For more information on nutrition during the first year of life, please visit the infant feeding pages on Health Canada’s website: ... ex-eng.php

Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion
Health Canada

I just thought I'd share.

Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy and green beans) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: Oral Allergy Syndrome, Allergic to Birch trees

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