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Ask the Dietitian: Is Soybean Oil Safe for Use in Baby Formula?

Ask the Dietitian: Is Soybean Oil Safe for Use in Baby Formula?

Posted by Tori Schmitt, MS, RDN, LD on Jun 18th 2021

Soybean oil has been used for decades in formulas, and it provides a source of essential fats to help support the growth and development of a child. Yet, parents and caregivers sometimes question whether they should feed their little ones foods containing soy products. Today, I’m here to bust a few myths on soybean oil to help you feel confident in the choices you make about feeding your child. Let’s get started!

Myth: Soybean oil doesn’t provide essential fats.

Fact: Soybean oil provides essential fatty acids!

Soybean oil is a source of unsaturated fats, and the essential fatty acids called alpha linolenic acid (ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (LA, an omega-6 fatty acid). These fats are termed “essential” because (even though we need them to be healthy) the human body cannot produce them on its own. In other words, it is essential that we (including children!) get these fatty acids from the foods we eat. Soybean oil is one of the sources of these essential fats.

Myth: Soybean oil causes inflammation, and it’s not good for your heart.

Fact: Evidence suggests that soybean oil is heart-healthy.

Soybean oil contains linoleic fatty acids (an omega-6 fatty acid), and some critics say that these fats are pro-inflammatory. However, some evidence suggests that consuming more linoleic acid does not increase inflammatory markers (how doctors and scientists determine how much inflammation is occurring) among healthy human adults. In fact, some epidemiological studies suggest that these types of fats may be linked to reduced inflammation(1-2).

Omega-6 fatty acids often get a bad rap when it comes to inflammation in the body. But some scientists believe that saturated fatty acid is actually responsible for promoting inflammation, while omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation(3). A 2015 review of the research on soybean oil revealed that, when soybean oils replaced saturated fats, researchers noted significant reductions in total cholesterol. This means that there are likely favorable impacts on overall heart disease risk when oils like soybean replace saturated fats(4).

Myth: All soybean oil comes from GMO sources.

Fact: Some soybean oil is organically produced.

Many of the concerns about soy are related to the fact that most soy grown in the United States is genetically modified. In fact, in 2018, GMO soybeans made up 94% of all the soybeans planted in the U.S.(5). But, at Nature’s One, those beans don’t meet our purity and quality standards. That’s why we use organic soybean oil, which is non-GMO. Our Pure 10 Pledge assures you that we reject controversial ingredients like GMOs and source from U.S. organic farmers whenever possible.

Myth: Soybean oil is highly refined with chemicals.

Fact: Our organic soybean oil isn’t made with harsh chemicals!

Not all soybean oil is created in the same way! While some brands use conventionally grown soy and harsh chemicals to extract the oil, Nature’s One does not. We source soybean oil from organic soybeans and use extraction methods that align with the USDA’s National Organic Program. The organic soybean oil ingredient we use is expeller-pressed and no harsh chemical solvents (like hexane!) are used in the process – which is another reason why our formula sets the bar for purity!

The bottom line on the safety of organic soybean oil:

At Nature’s One, our formulas feature a variety of oils including organic soybean oil, organic canola oil, organic high oleic sunflower oil, organic high oleic safflower oil, and/or organic coconut oil. Our formulas are designed to offer a safe, important blend of essential fats for a child’s growth and development. Each of these healthy, organic ingredients contributes qualities that we believe will help you give your baby their best start...for life!

Nature’s One prides itself on purity – and also in offering families a range of formulas that meet a variety of nutritional needs. If you’re still not comfortable with products that use soy-based ingredients, that’s okay! Nature’s One® also offers Baby’s Only® Organic Gentle Dairy Toddler Formula with Organic DHA and ARA, and several other formulas within the Baby’s Only® line of products that don’t include soy ingredients.

References:

  1. Innes JK, Calder PC. Omega-6 fatty acids and inflammation. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2018;132:41-48. doi:10.1016/j.plefa.2018.03.004
  2. Harris WS, Mozaffarian D, Rimm E, et al. Omega-6 fatty acids and risk for cardiovascular disease: a science advisory from the American Heart Association Nutrition Subcommittee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism; Council on Cardiovascular Nursing; and Council on Epidemiology and Prevention. Circulation. 2009;119(6):902-907. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.191627
  3. Fritsche KL. The science of fatty acids and inflammation. Adv Nutr. 2015;6(3):293S-301S. Published 2015 May 15. doi:10.3945/an.114.006940
  4. Huth PJ, Fulgoni VL 3rd, Larson BT. A systematic review of high-oleic vegetable oil substitutions for other fats and oils on cardiovascular disease risk factors: implications for novel high-oleic soybean oils. Adv Nutr. 2015;6(6):674-693. Published 2015 Nov 13. doi:10.3945/an.115.008979
  5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. GMO Crops, Animal Food, and Beyond. 28 September 2020. Accessed 11 June 2021 from https://www.fda.gov/food/agricultural-biotechnology/gmo-crops-animal-food-and-beyond