Children that drink alternative milks seem less likely to thrive to the same elevation at period three as those who drink cow's milk, Toronto researchers have found.

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Everest Frenke, 2, drink some strengthened soy milk. The Toronto toddler's mom sometimes adds flax oil, peanut butter or hemp seed to ensure her daughter is getting necessary nutrients. (

Like many parents, Andrea Thompson works difficult to make sure her toddler eats nutritious foods.

The Toronto mother has to be a vegan for 4 years and thinks carefully about the food she offers her two-year-old daughter, Everest Frenke. Occasionally she to add flax oil, peanut butter or hemp seed to soybean beans milk to ensure she daughter is getting vital nutrients. 

"The soybean beans milk I offer her is fortified," Thompson said. "She doesn't drink the very often, mostly in her cereal or her oatmeal."

Recognizing that much more families are reaching for alternate milks such as soy, almond or rice over traditional cow's milk, researcher in Toronto collection out to watch if it has an affect on development — an indicator the optimal nutrition. 

The team at St. Michael's Hospital turned come their continuous study of about 5,000 youngsters aged two to 6 who were recruited native primary-care practices in the city.

The kids' heights and weights were measured and also blood samples taken. Participating parents to be surveyed about their child's diet to watch if cow's milk offered a growth benefit over non-cow's milk.

Among the youngsters in the study, 13 every cent drank non-cow's milk, including goat's milk and also plant-based alternatives. The others drank cow's milk daily.

The researchers found that on average, a three-year-old having actually three cups of cow's milk a day prospered 1.5 centimetres taller than a similar child spend the same amount of different milk.

The study's lead author, pediatrician Jonathon Maguire, and also his co-authors reported the findings in Wednesday's issue of the American journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Difference 'not tiny'

"When friend are only 2.5 feet high and you room that various it is a fairly sizable difference," Maguire said. "How that plays the end over childhood, what distinction that provides to adult height, is no clear at the existing time, but the distinction at 3 years of period is detectable and not tiny."

What's driving the height difference? The investigators speculate that components like particular proteins in cow's milk may add to height, based on other studies.

it is a tiny bit inexplicable that the same standard isn't applied to the other alternative milks however they space marketed as being comparable to cow's milk.- Dr. Jonathon Maguire for instance, two cups the cow's milk includes 16 grams that protein, i m sorry meets 100 every cent that the day-to-day protein need for a three-year-old child, the researcher said. 2 cups of almond milk beverage frequently contains 4 grams of protein, i beg your pardon is only 25 per cent that the everyday protein need for a three-year-old.

Researchers can't completely explain the apparent height difference and also what can be contributing come it. When they factored in age, sex, ethnicity, neighbourhood income and also maternal height, the outcomes did no change. 

In Canada, the nutritional content of cow's milk is standardized but non-cow's milk isn't, the researchers noted.


"I think the totality reason to standardize to be to protect children and carry out adequate nutrients," Maguire said. "It is a tiny bit unexplained that the exact same standard isn't used to the other alternative milks yet they space marketed together being similar to cow's milk."

What's control family's choices

The takeaway is the there's simply an association in between drinking non-cow's milk and also height, but you can't speak it makes you shorter, said Dr. Peter Nieman, a community pediatrician in Calgary that was not involved in the study. 

The number of children drinking non-cow's milk has actually been cultivation steadily end the previous 10 years. In Nieman's practice, more families are avoiding dairy, an ext for clinical reasons 보다 social or ecological ones, back he says that's a farming segment. 

When talking to families, Nieman claimed it's important to understand what's driving their decision.

"If they phone call me lock did that for eco-friendly reasons, maybe they're vegan, ns would need to respect that and work v them and aid them monitor a lifestyle that is healthy and also that is safe," Nieman said.

ns can't tell you what to do, but because the neighbour is doing it or because much more people and much more people are doing the doesn't do it appropriate necessarily.- Dr. Peter Nieman

"If it's just something that's a fad since the neighbour's doing it, then ns think you can work v those people and also explain," that added.

"I can't tell girlfriend what to do, but because the neighbour is doing it or because an ext people and an ext people space doing the doesn't make it appropriate necessarily."

Nieman said the findings stimulate conversation however more, longer-term information is additionally needed. 

For she part, Thompson is conscious about giving her daughter foods rich in protein and also other nutrients, such together hummus, nut butters, tofu and also tempe.

"I converse with plenty of vegan parents," Thompson said. "We know that yes, really store-bought almond milk is advertised as a diet food, low calorie, short fat. That is not a toddler food."

Thompson think much more research is needed prior to saying there's a true causal link between drinking alternative milks and shorter height.

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The research was sponsor by the Canadian academy for wellness Research and also the St. Michael's Hospital Foundation.