The Glycemic Response to Infant Formulas: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Adi Anafy*, Hadar Moran-Lev, Niva Shapira, Meital Priel, Asaf Oren, Laurence Mangel, Dror Mandel, Ronit Lubetzky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Commercial infant formulas attempt to imitate human milk’s unique composition. However, lactose-free and milk protein-free formulas are often chosen due to medical reasons or personal preferences. The aim of this study was to determine the glycemic and insulinemic indices of a variety of infant formulas. Methods: We conducted a three-arm, randomized, double-blind, crossover study. Participants were 25–40-year-old healthy adults. Three commercial infant formulas (cow’s milk protein-based [“standard”], soy protein-based, and lactose-free) were randomly given to each participant. Glycemic and insulinemic responses were determined and compared between the three formulas. Results: Twenty subjects were enrolled (11 females/9 males, mean age 32.8 ± 2.9 years). No significant difference was found in the glycemic index between the three formulas (21.5, 29.1, and 21.5 for the standard, soy protein-based, and lactose-free formulas, respectively, p = 0.21). However, maximal glucose levels were significantly higher for the soy protein-based formula compared to both the standard and lactose-free formulas (111.5 compared to 101.8 and 105.8 mg/dL, respectively, p = 0.001). Conclusion: Cow’s milk protein-based, soy protein-based, and lactose-free formulas have a similar glycemic index. However, soy protein-based formula produced a significantly higher increase in postprandial glucose levels. The implication and biological significance of these results have yet to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1064
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Cow’s milk protein-based formula
  • Glycemic index
  • Infant formula
  • Lactose-free formula
  • Soy protein-based formula


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