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Baby loses weight and vomits, doctors discover he was starving on almond milk diet

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Baby loses weight and vomits, doctors discover he was starving on almond milk diet

Newborn was starving, the doctors discover that he was on a diet based on almond milk. To tell the story to Insider is lto pediatric nutritionist Marina Chaparro, who worked in a children’s hospital in Miami about five years ago when a child was admitted with symptoms including weight loss and vomiting. The boy had ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body begins to break down fatty acids for energy, releasing ketones and making the blood dangerously acidic.

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Newborn dies of starvation for diet based on almond milk, hospitalization

Initially, Chaparro and his medical colleagues, who worked in the pediatric endocrinology unit, thought the child had type 1 diabetes, a common culprit in ketoacidosis. But after a series of tests they learned that the child’s condition was not caused by diabetes, but by hunger: his mother was feeding him a almond milk diet, allegedly based on invalid medical advice he had found online.

Chaparro, who now runs her own bilingual children’s and family nutrition practice, said the story has stuck with her over the years because it illustrates the dangers of medical misinformation, something that has only become more prevalent in recent years.

Because breast milk is irreplaceable

While nut milk can be incorporated into most children’s diets, it doesn’t have the right nutrients to replace breast milk or formula in children under 1, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Not even cow’s milk or other non-dairy milk substitutes. Baby formula is “really hard to redo, it’s really hard to have that balance that food scientists have been studying for years,” Chaparro said in a webinar hosted by the California Strawberry Commission. “Not to mention the risk of cross-contamination and infection” when creating your own formula.

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The baby’s mom “was doing her best,” Chaparro added, and probably thought that because almond milk worked for her, it was good for her baby.

How’s the baby

Chaparro said the baby ended up doing well and was discharged after a few days of feeding an appropriate formula. But the experience made Chaparro realize “how deep sometimes these dietary messages reach into our culture, and we hear them and sometimes we translate them to our children and our families,” he said. “This is where I’m like, ‘This could be really dangerous.”

The danger of online recipes

More parents have turned to Internet recipes for homemade formula more recently, in light of last year’s formula shortage. Dr. Owais Durrani, an East Texas emergency room physician, previously spoke with Insider about the aftermath, such as lethargy and seizures, which he witnessed firsthand.

In some cases, she said, parents have watered down their formulas in an effort to make them last longer, but this offsets electrolyte balance, which can lead to low sodium in infants. This, in turn, can reduce the blood volume of babies, causing potentially life-threatening low blood pressure and circulating oxygen levels. “A formula is essentially regulated as tightly as any prescribed drug when it comes to the ingredients in it to make sure a baby’s kidneys are developing, their liver, their electrolytes — everything else is in a great balance,” he said. said. “They’re not as resilient as an adult who could stand in the sun for 12 hours and become dehydrated. For the most part we’ll still be fine, but that’s not the case for a child,” Durrani added. “Every electrolyte, every component, every mineral in that formula is very important.” Faced with shortages, Durrani recommended parents switch to other available brands if possible, or ask for samples of formula from their pediatrician or local hospital.

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“We’re here to help. We’re not going to turn away a hungry child from the emergency room. We’re going to make sure that when that child is discharged, there’s some type of plan in place,” Durrani said. “But please don’t use any of these other options because that can lead to life-threatening problems.”

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