Calling Out Nestle

I’m publicly calling out Nestle for their deceitful practices. I believe all companies that make enteral formula give a biased presentation of their formulas, but Nestle takes it a step further.

Nestle makes an enteral formula called Compleat Pediatric. They advertise this ridiculous formula as similar to home blenderized diets and as a better option than home blenderized diets because they use some real food in their formula. They do indeed include real food in their formula. Of course, this food is superheated, which means most of the benefits of that food are completely destroyed. They fail to mention this important detail in their advertising.

The primary ingredient is corn syrup. And it contains juice concentrate. Their formula contains absolutely 0 grains and an enormous amount of sugar. Yet, they advertise this as “better” than home blends of fresh food. Last time I checked, high sugar diets were not considered to be superior diets.

How much sugar is in their product? We have no way to know for sure. Because Nestle goes out of its way to hide this information from parents. They will let you know how many carbohydrates are in their enteral formula. But, you will not find the amount of sugar listed on their nutrition label. That is information they do not want you to know. If they really do have a healthful product, why do they exclude this information that is typically found on nutrition labels? And if you ask them how much sugar is in their formula, they will refuse to tell you. I know two tubie mamas that have tried to find out this information from Nestle, concerned for their children, and Nestle would not give this information to them. Apparently, Nestle does not feel that parents should be fully informed about a product they are feeding to their children.

The idea behind a blenderized diet is to feed tube fed patients food that they would be eating if they ate orally. As far as I know, it is quite rare for someone to sit down and drink a glass of corn syrup. Compleat Pediatric is not a blenderized diet. Compleat Pediatric is nothing like a blenderized diet.

Nestle is actually changing the corn syrup in their formula to something else after many parents complained. We will know soon what they managed to come up with. If I were to bet, I’d bet it won’t contain any whole grains whatsoever. Rumor has it that it will contain brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup. No one sits around drinking brown rice syrup any more than they sit around drinking corn syrup.

There is a reason we don’t consume these things in these proportions orally. Doing so would make us sick. Brown rice syrup is barely different from corn syrup. It’s glycemic index is almost equal to glucose and is significantly higher than table sugar. I could also add that brown rice syrup is known to contain high levels of arsenic, which is why parents are recommended to avoid feeding their toddlers rice containing beverages. This is not good for your child. This is why doctors recommend people consume whole grains for most of their carbohydrates. They do not recommend getting our carbohydrates from corn syrup, brown rice syrup, sugar or other products such as these. We will see what they come up with. But, I fully expect it will be something either as terrible as or worse than consuming sugar for almost all of one’s carbohydrates.

I hope I have made it clear that Compleat Pediatric is in no way a blenderized diet, and it is also in no way better than a home blenderized diet of fresh, whole foods.

Right on their website, Nestle claims that blenderized diets have been shown to have high levels of contamination that can lead to infectious illness. In fact, there is absolutely no legitimate study that gives this conclusion. Not one single study exists that yields data showing that blenderized diets contain unacceptable levels of human pathogens.

I just finished writing a book summarizing the poorly done studies cited by Nestle and other formula manufacturers and explaining why none of these studies they cite mean what Nestle and other companies claim they mean. It will be available soon. The citing of these poorly done studies means these companies are either lying or they are not competent at evaluating scientific research studies. Whichever is the case, I don’t want people that lie about their products or that don’t understand how to evaluate research developing a formula that will be fed to my child.

One fellow tubie mama friend called Nestle, asking about all the corn syrup in Compleat Pediatric. She was told corn syrup is good for her child and that she was confusing corn syrup with high fructose corn syrup. Let me clear this up. Diets where most carbohydrates are consumed from corn syrup are not healthful. Corn syrup is not good for  your child.  Sure, high fructose corn syrup is worse than corn syrup. But, neither of them are healthful products.

Another tubie mama friend called to ask about the amount of corn syrup in Compleat Pediatric. After non-answers from multiple people, she received this email from Nestle:

“Thank you for your recent request for information regarding COMPLEAT® PEDIATRIC from Nestlé Nutrition.

We cannot provide quantitative amounts of puree because of proprietary reasons- however, we know it is important to the consumer hence we have correlated it with the amount of fruits and vegetables into servings for the appropriate age groups- i.e. 3 servings for ages 1-4years and 2 servings for 4+ years. One serving for ages 1-4 yrs. is 1/3cup of fruit & vegetables or ½ cup of fruit juice; the corresponding value for 4+ years is ½ cup and 1 cup respectively. By this, one can estimate that each container would have about 1 cup of serving equivalents of fruits and vegetables.

Home kitchens and kitchen equipment such as blenders are susceptible to inadequate sanitation procedures, thus predisposing an already vulnerable patient to potential harmful pathogens. Home caregivers may not be adequately trained in food safety and sanitation processes to avert potential contamination of home blenderized feedings. Receiving a contaminated formula can result in GI upset that may lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and the possible need for medical treatment. Compleat® formulas are a safer alternative to home-blenderized diets, because they are commercially manufactured, heat-treated and shelf-stable. These formulas are manufactured in an FDA registered facility in which quality standards are enforced and analytical testing is done to assure that the nutrient content is within specifications according to the nutrition information declared on the label.

In addition, an analysis of made-from-scratch blenderized tube feedings in 17 hospitals revealed a high degree of nutrient variability among the tube feeding samples from a single hospital as well as between hospitals. Nutrient analysis demonstrated 20%-30% variability (levels lower than estimated) for carbohydrate, fat and protein and an even greater variability for cholesterol (levels higher than estimated). Vitamin levels were undetectable (or not at adequate levels) in many samples, particularly for the water soluble vitamins (Campbell SM. An anthology of advances in enteral tube feeding formulations. Nutr Clin Prac. 2006;21:411-415.)

Nestlé Nutrition is dedicated to high quality nutrition support products and services. We provide a wide range of exceptional enteral nutrition products to meet the needs of the clinicians and patients in both home and institutional settings.

Please contact our specialists for any additional questions at the Nestle Nutrition Resource Center at (800) 422-2752 from 8am – 8pm EST, Monday through Friday. We also invite you to visit our website anytime at www.nestlehealthscience.us where you will find product information as well as ordering our products direct to your door from the Nestle Nutrition Store.”

I sent Nestle the following email after reading this misinformation being openly spread by this company to consumers:

“Dear Nestle,

I read an email you recently sent to a mother telling her that home blending equipment can be contaminated due to lack of training in how to properly clean the equipment. Let me tell you a little about these “home caregivers” you speak of. We are not the idiots you seem to think we are.

We, with no medical training of any kind, become experts on our child’s medical condition, and we do so quickly, even while enduring terrible traumas and crises. We learn about a variety of medications, what they do in the body, potential reactions, and more. We learn how to use all kinds of medical machines and equipment that we’d never even heard of until our child needed it. We learn about surgical procedures and proper wound care. We learn to read monitors. We learn to read our children. We learn so so much so so quickly so we can provide our children with the best life possible.

AND YOU THINK WE ARE TOO STUPID TO LEARN HOW TO WASH A BLENDER.

I cannot describe how insulting this is. I will not purchase any Nestle products and will ask all my friends and fellow tubie mamas to do the same until you publicly apologize. I’m putting this on my Facebook, my blog which is visited regularly by a large number of tubie parents, and in a book I’m about to publish about how terrible formulas like yours are. The book will also show the tube fed community how flawed and awful the research is that you cite so they can see that you are either deceitful people or completely incompetent at evaluating research. Let’s see how dumb you think I am then.

And by the way, there are absolutely no studies of any kind that suggest that tube fed children are more sick than orally fed children, requiring them to be fed sterilized formula. Do you think tube fed people are the only people living with medical conditions? Or do you propose all people, even orally fed people, that have a medical condition drink sterile formula? Are you not aware of how terrible sterile food is for the gut microbiome? I have friends whose orally fed child just had a heart transplant and is on immunosuppressive therapies. He is FAR more vulnerable to complications to infections than my tube fed son who is in very stable health with healthy immune function. Yet no one is telling these parents food is dangerous for their son. Use some critical thinking skills.

There are absolutely no studies that show home blends in an average American home are full of human pathogens. Showing there is bacteria, not human pathogens, in blends in Iran, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia means nothing. Vegetation has bacteria on it so we shouldn’t stand around in shock when it’s found in blends that have vegetables in it. Do you eat vegetables? Because there is bacteria on the vegetables you eat. If you eat salad ever, or any raw vegetables of any kind, then you know that bacteria consumption from vegetables is ok.

The study about the total lack of nutrients was unclear in their methods. Did the blends separate prior to taking the sample or did they stir the blend to return it to uniformity? Why didn’t you include in your email the recent study in which children on a blended diet showed absolutely no deficiencies in their blood serum levels relevant to nutrition? Do YOU live off of food? If it’s so dangerous to do so and you’d be so susceptible to malnourishment, why do YOU eat food instead of formula?

You give parents advice that you don’t follow for your own selves.

And the ‘study’ you cited in your email to my friend wasn’t even a study. It was a writing about the history of enteral feedings and an incredibly biased one at that. You don’t do science right when you add your agenda or bias to what should be a scientific writing.

Your product uses corn syrup and sugar for nearly all carbs. This is not a healthful diet and you know it. It is certainly more harmful than the blender on my counter.

Sincerely,

A tubie mama who is smart, educated, and aware of how to wash a blender.”

They chose to not reply.

I believe Nestle is worse than other formula manufacturers because they go out of their way to make their formula sound like it is a blenderized diet, which it is not. They claim their product is superior to a blenderized diet, which it is not. And they claim their product contributes to good health more than a home blenderized diet of fresh, whole food, which it does not.

And I’m calling them out. If you’d like to join me in refusing to support this company, here is a list of their products. And there are plenty of other reasons to refuse to contribute to their profits as well.

Advertisements