Early Protein Hypothesis

Early nutrition can reprogram your child's genes

We've learned that family history puts your child at risk for obesity. But did you know that early nutrition and changes in hormones can interact with your child's genes, affect metabolism and cause obesity?

Studies show that too much protein may put your child at risk for obesity later in life. They found that high amounts of protein can increase certain amino acids that stimulate the release of insulin. This hormone is known to decrease the feeling of fullness and increase your child's appetite, causing him to gain more weight.

Scientists also learned that those who are fed with high amounts of protein have high Insulin Growth Factor in their bodies. This substance brings about the formation of more fat cells and may result in rapid growth rate.

For these reasons, excess protein early in life becomes an important factor for early weight gain, high body mass index, and increased fat tissue. These conditions increases your child's possibility of developing obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease during his adult years.

By knowing how diet can affect growth patterns, early prevention and intervention strategies can be done to improve your child's long-term health and well-being.


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  2. Koletzko B, et al. Lower protein in infant formula is associated with lower weight up to age 2 y: a randomized clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:1836–45.
  3. Koletzko B et al. The Early Nutrition Programming Project (EARNEST): 5 y of successful multidisciplinary collaborative research. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011; 94(suppl): 1749S-53S.
  4. Weber M et al. Lower protein content in infant formula reduces BMI and obesity risk at school age: follow-up of a randomized trial. J Clin Nutr 2014;99:1041–51.