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Baby Develops Scurvy After Diet Of Almond Milk

So a single baby in Spain developed a skin rash after 2 1/2 months after drinking regular formula, so a doctor recommended almond milk formula. The parents, being ignorant, fed the child absolutely nothing else but this one type of almond milk formula when the baby did not eat solid foods by 6 months. The baby was fine at 7 months, but was kept on only the almond milk formula until the age of 11 months, when moving his limbs caused the baby to start crying.

A checkup by the doctor later revealed that the baby developed scurvy, or in other words, Vitamin C Deficiency, along with knee fractures and brittle bones. News outlets have been reporting on this over and over, and what is the constant theme?

The lesson? Babies can’t develop normally on a plant-based diet.

Really? So the issue is not that the baby only consumed Almond Milk, it MUST be the fact of a plant-based diet. Right? Wrong.

“The issue here is not one of a plant-based diet being inadequate or inappropriate, but rather the absence of formula and/or breast milk in this infant’s diet,” Las Vegas-based dietitian Andy Bellatti, unaffiliated with the Spanish case study, wrote in an email. He noted that cow milk also lacks vitamin C.

The Spanish case study authors write that if fruits, which contain vitamin C, formula or breast milk had supplemented this baby’s diet, he would have had his vitamin C needs met.

Even the American Dietetic Association claims:

…appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.

So the issue is not with the fact that the infant was fed almond milk, the issue was with the fact that the infant was fed ONLY almond milk. Not even almond milk with blended fruit or anything like that.

This story of a single EXTREMELY rare case, should not in any way be used to show that vegan diets are inadequate for infants. Well planned vegan diets work just fine.

4 thoughts on “Baby Develops Scurvy After Diet Of Almond Milk”

  1. I must say this article (I first saw it on a different site) did puzzle me. My first thought was “Why!! Why would you feed an infant almond-milk?!” This was before I had even read the article. Looking back, I’m sure the ad people thought this would get the most response from both Vegans and omnivores alike. (Ad execs 1- everyone else 0) The baby was allergic to formula makes a little more sense, but what I really question is why was the mother not breast-feeding this infant? I’m a male, and I know that breast milk is extremely important to the immune system and nutritional needs of a baby. If there was an underlying cause why she couldn’t nurse her child, o.k. Otherwise, I still say bad parenting. 6 months old should be a transitional phase.

    1. I agree! I have heard of some vegans who refused to breastfeed their child because they believed that breastmilk wasn’t vegan (makes no sense to me, but ok), but I have no heard of any good reason outside of a medical condition to not breastfeed an infant.

      The idea of an almond-milk style formula for infants is fine, and the infant drinking this would be OK if breastmilk, or baby food, or another kind of formula or SOMETHING was supplemented to make sure the child had adequate nutrient intake, but nope. One type of formula for 11 months and that’s all. That doesn’t even sound like a smart thing to do.

      But oh well, nothing we can do about it now

      1. Look at the silver lining, though. This story has been on several varying sites. (i read of lot of news in my downtime. Huffington post, Cnn, Newser, Buzzfeed, even Fox) If the story is getting exposure, people are learning. Anything that slows the flow of ignorance, even well-intentioned ignorance, is a good thing!

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