USDA: Introduce Peanut Foods in the First Year of Life to Reduce the Risk of Developing a Peanut Allergy
7 Things You Need to Know About the New Infant Health Recommendations
There’s big news in the world of infant nutrition that moms and dads will want to know about! The just-released Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, address infant health and food allergy prevention for the first time in history, recommending that potentially allergenic foods be introduced along with other complementary foods, around 6 months. The report also specifically encourages peanut introduction in the first year of life to reduce the risk of peanut allergy – joining the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and many other organizations now recommending early peanut introduction to prevent peanut allergy.
The Dietary Guidelines are published once every five years by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) and dictate how American families approach diet and nutrition nation-wide, serving as the cornerstone for federal nutrition programs and policies.
With the new report, for the first time, the USDA tackles the question of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, as well as infants and children under two. This includes guidelines that influence the rise or prevention of disease and food allergy prevention.
Here are 7 key take-aways related to nutrition for infants:
When possible, breast milk is best. For about the first 6 months of life, exclusively feed infants human milk. Continue to feed infants human milk through at least the first year of life, and longer if desired. Feed infants iron-fortified infant formula during the first year of life when human milk is unavailable.
Babies need Vitamin D. Provide infants with supplemental vitamin D beginning soon after birth.
Diet Diversity is important. Encourage infants and toddlers to consume a variety of foods from all food groups. Include foods rich in iron and zinc, particularly for infants fed human milk.
No added sugar for children under 2 years old. Avoid foods and beverages with added sugars.
Start solids at about 6 months. Introduce infants to nutrient-dense complementary foods around 6 months (and not before 4 months).
Introduce potentially allergenic foods (e.g., peanuts, egg, cow milk products, tree nuts, wheat, crustacean shellfish, fish and soy) along with other complementary foods.
Introduce peanut foods in the first year of life. The report specifically states “Introducing peanut-containing foods in the first year reduces the risk that an infant will develop a food allergy to peanuts.”
With this advice the USDA and HHS join the AAP, NIH and many other organizations that now recommend peanut introduction in infancy, based on the LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) Study, a five-year randomized controlled trial led by Mission MightyMe Co-founder, Dr. Gideon Lack.
The 2015 LEAP Study found that more than 80 percent of peanut allergies could be prevented by starting peanut foods as early as 4-11 months, and consuming them regularly until age 5. This discovery changed pediatric feeding guidelines around the globe to recommend starting peanut foods in infancy and keeping them in the diet regularly.
But that can be a challenge since nuts and nut butters are choking hazards for babies and there are very few baby-friendly peanut foods on the market.
That’s exactly why the world’s leading pediatric allergist, Dr. Gideon Lack teamed up with food allergy parents Catherine and JJ Jaxon to start Mission MightyMe – a line of nutritious foods that make it easy and enjoyable to include peanut and common food allergens in your child’s diet, as the guidelines recommend.
“We started Mission MightyMe to make it easy to introduce and regularly include tasty foods into children’s diets that also contain allergens such as peanut,” said Dr. Lack, “with a view to preventing the development of peanut allergy and potentially preventing other food allergies as well.”
If your child’s pediatrician has determined that they’re ready to start peanut foods, Mission MightyMe’s Proactive Peanut Puffs are a perfect way to regularly include peanut protein in your little one’s diet.