European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 11–18 | Cite as

Complementary food with low (8%) or high (12%) meat content as source of dietary iron: a double-blinded randomized controlled trial

  • Katharina Dube
  • Jana Schwartz
  • Manfred J. Mueller
  • Hermann Kalhoff
  • Mathilde Kersting
Original Contribution

Abstract

Background

To investigate whether a low meat content of complementary food as accepted by EU law increases the risk of well-nourished infants to develop iron deficiency during the complementary feeding period.

Methods

Term born, healthy infants were randomized into a ‘High Meat’ Group (HM, n = 48) receiving commercial baby jars with a meat content of 12% by weight (according to pediatric guidelines), and a ‘Low Meat’ Group (LM, n = 49) receiving meals as marketed (meat 8% by weight, the lowest level of EU law). Intervention was from 4 to 10 months of age. Dietary intake was recorded continuously, repeated blood samples were collected.

Results

Estimated intake of bioavailable iron conformed to reference requirements. In the primary analysis of the total sample, iron status was adequate before (4 months), during (7 months), and after (10 months) the intervention. A secondary analysis in the subgroup of infants fully breast-fed for 4–6 months demonstrated an increased risk of low Hb values with 10 months of age in the LM group.

Interpretation

Present day low meat content of complementary food does not significantly impair iron status in well-nourished infants but may increase the risk of developing marginal iron status in older infants after fully breast-feeding for 4–6 months, i.e., in the subgroup of infants with the lowest habitual iron intake.

Keywords

Infants Iron status Complementary food Meat Hemoglobin Breast milk 

List of abbreviations

BA iron

Bioavailable iron

BM

Breast milk

DINO

Dortmund Intervention Trial for Optimization of Infant Nutrition

DRI

Dietary reference intake

Fer

Serum-ferritin

Hb

Hemoglobin

HM

High-meat

ID

Iron deficiency

IDA

Iron deficiency anemia

LM

Low-meat

MCH

Mean cell hemoglobin

MCV

Mean cell volume

RCT

Randomized controlled trial

SD

Standard deviation

TEE

Total energy expenditure

TfR

Soluble transferrin-receptor

ZPP

Zinc protoporphyrin

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina Dube
    • 1
  • Jana Schwartz
    • 1
  • Manfred J. Mueller
    • 2
  • Hermann Kalhoff
    • 3
  • Mathilde Kersting
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Institute of Child Nutrition DortmundUniversity of BonnDortmundGermany
  2. 2.University of KielKielGermany
  3. 3.Pediatric ClinicDortmundGermany

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