Effect of thickening agents, based on soluble dietary fiber, on the availability of calcium, iron, and zinc from infant formulas.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Laboratory of Food Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp (Wilrijk), Belgium.
Nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.86). 01/2001; 17(7-8):614-8. DOI: 10.1016/S0899-9007(01)00541-X
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although it is accepted that dietary fiber probably is not needed in the diets of infants younger than 1 y, babies suffering from regurgitation are often fed with infant formulas thickened with considerable amounts of fiber. The effect of increasing amounts of alginic acid, locust-bean gum, and guar gum was studied from casein and whey-based infant formulas. A dialysis in vitro method with preliminary intraluminal digestion, adapted to the conditions of infants younger than 6 mo, was used. Human milk was used as the reference standard. Elemental contents of samples and dialysates were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry. Soluble dietary fiber inhibited mineral availability more in casein than in whey-based formulas. Mineral availabilities from casein- and whey-based formulas supplemented with 0.42 g of locust-bean gum/100 mL were 9.4% (0.7) and 10.4% (0.6) for calcium (P < 0.05), 0.32% (0.08) and 1.45% (0.17) for iron (P < 0.05), and 3.2% (0.2) and 5.6% (0.5) for zinc (P < 0.05), respectively. Calcium availability from the whey formula decreased in the presence of each fiber source, especially guar gum and alginic acid. Supplementing 2 g of alginic acid-based agents per 100 mL depressed calcium availability from 13.3% (1.2) to 5.3% (0.3; P < 0.05). With respect to iron and zinc, availabilities increased from 1.28% (0.28) to 6.05% (0.96; P < 0.05) and from 6.7% (0.6) to 10.2% (1.0), respectively, with the addition of 2 g of alginic acid (P < 0.05). Both gums lowered iron and zinc availabilities, and guar gum affected iron availability more severely than locust-bean gum did. Iron availabilities were 1.45% (0.17) from formula thickened with locust-bean gum (0.42 g/100 mL) and 0.92% (0.15) from formula thickened with guar gum (P < 0.05). Adding thickening agents based on soluble dietary fiber to traditional infant formulas probably affects calcium, iron, and zinc availability in various ways.

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