Carbohydrates in Neocate


Posted 2.21.17 | Nutrition Specialist


The Neocate Nutrition Services team of dietitians gets lots of questions every day from parents who want to know more about Neocate, what it is, and how it can help their little ones. But as many of us do with a lot of our food, some parents have questions about the unique ingredients that make Neocate so special. The ingredients in Neocate - especially the amino acids - make us unique among formulas! In this post, we are going to answer some of the frequent questions we receive about the carbohydrates used in Neocate products.

Why do you use carbohydrates in Neocate?

Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients our bodies need to grow and thrive. Carbohydrates include most fibers, starches, and sugars, and most of the carbohydrates in our diets come from plants. (Did you know? Glucose - a type of sugar - is the main energy source for the human brain!) In short, we include carbohydrates because they're necessary.

Some Neocate products contain prebiotics, which are carbohydrates that we (humans) can't digest, but that some of our good gut bacteria can digest. Prebiotics can help to support digestive health. Learn more about prebiotics.

See the table below for the various sources of carbohydrates in Neocate products. Here are the main reasons for including them:

  • Corn syrup solids - as a source of carbohydrate
  • Maltodextrin (from corn) - as a source of carbohydrate
  • Fructooligosaccharides - as a source of prebiotic
  • Inulin - as a source of prebiotic
  • Rice starch - as a natural thickener
  • Sugar - for sweetness

If you have questions around the use of corn syrup solids in nutritional formulas like Neocate, please read over our Corn Allergy 101 blog post, which explains that these are highly refined in a multi-step process designed to remove protein.

What is the sugar content of Neocate products?

To answer this question, let's first dive into a quick review of what sugars are. "Sugars" describe carbohydrate molecules that are one unit (monosaccharide) or two units (disaccharide) long. These are also called simple sugars, and include glucose and sucrose. Simple sugars are digested and absorbed easily and fairly quickly. Starches, which are longer carbohydrate molecules, are digested and absorbed more slowly.

There are two ways to classify sugars when looking at sugar content of a food, beverage, or nutritional formula. "Total sugars" describes all of the sugars in a product, including sugars that come from main sources of carbohydrates. For example, corn syrup solids are mostly starch, with a small amount of naturally present mono- and disaccharides. Total sugars also includes added sugars. "Added sugars" are sugars that are added to the food, usually to provide some sweetness.

This table shows you, per 100 calories, how many grams of total sugars and how many grams of added sugars each Neocate product contains. (For infant formula, 100 calories is 5 fluid ounces; for Neocate Junior and Splash formulas, 100 calories is 3.3 fluid ounces)

Neocate Product

Carbohydrate 
source(s)

Total Sugars
(per 100 calories)
Added Sugars
(per 100 calories)
Neocate Syneo Infant
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Fructooligosaccharides (prebiotic)
  • Inulin (prebiotic)
0.95 g None
Neocate Infant
DHA/ARA
  • Corn Syrup Solids
0.97 g None
Neocate Nutra
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Rice Starch
  • Sugar
2.6 g 1.9 g
Neocate Junior,
Unflavored
  • Corn Syrup Solids
0.94 g None
Neocate Junior
with Prebiotics,
Unflavored
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Fructooligosaccharides (prebiotic)
  • Inulin (prebiotic)
0.91 g None
Neocate Splash,
Unflavored
  • Maltodextrin (from corn)
  • Sugar
5.2 g 5.0 g
Neocate Junior,
Tropical
  • Corn Syrup Solids
0.93 g None
Neocate Junior,
Chocolate
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Sugar
1.9 g 1.1 g
Neocate Junior
with Prebiotics,
Vanilla
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Sugar
  • Fructooligosaccharides (prebiotic)
  • Inulin (prebiotic)
2.4 g 1.6 g

Neocate Junior
with Prebiotics,
Strawberry

  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Sugar
  • Fructooligosaccharides (prebiotic)
  • Inulin (prebiotic)
2.4 g 1.6 g
Neocate Splash,
Grape
  • Maltodextrin (from corn)
  • Sugar
5.3 g 4.7 g
Neocate Splash,
Orange-Pineapple
  • Maltodextrin (from corn)
  • Sugar
5.1 g 4.7 g
Neocate Splash,
Tropical Fruit
  • Maltodextrin (from corn)
  • Sugar
5.1 g 4.7 g

Why do you add sugars to some Neocate products?

Unlike other formulas, amino acid-based formulas that are plain, or unflavored, can seem bitter or sour. (Infants don't seem to notice this as much.) This is due to the use of amino acids - which are 100% non-allergenic, as the protein source. To help make the formulas taste great, our product team works with artificial flavors to improve the taste. For the products that have flavors added, sugar and/or artificial sweeteners can help to balance out the flavor to taste its best.

Do you really need to use sugar and/or artificial sweeteners?

Some parents wonder if we really need to use sugars or artificial sweeteners at all. For now we have to say 'yes, we do.' Why? Without them, the flavors simply wouldn't work. Without an artificial sweetener, the amount of sugar needed to reach a balanced flavor profile would be extremely high, like a soft drink or soda, and exceed recommendations. The artificial sweeteners we use are safe and approved, and we only use one for each product (one that works well with the flavor).

Others wonder if we can make a flavored formula with artificial sweeteners, but no added sugars. It's possible, but the result isn't always great, and it doesn't usually meet our standards. The reason is that this usually requires 2 or more artificial sweeteners, and we prefer to only stick with one artificial sweetener per formula, based on caregiver and parent feedback. The other is that these versions tend to taste, well, very artificially sweet. We find that using the combination of one artificial sweetener plus some added sugar gives the most balanced sweetness.

For children whose parents seek a flavored hypoallergenic formula without any artificial sweeteners there are several options, and we do offer one flavored Neocate product with no added sugars, Tropical Neocate Junior. This table shows you which Neocate products contain an artificial sweetener and, if so, which sweetener:

Neocate Product Artificial Sweetener
Neocate Syneo Infant None
Neocate Infant DHA/ARA None
Neocate Nutra None
Neocate Junior, Unflavored None
Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Unflavored None
Neocate Splash, Unflavored None
Neocate Junior, Tropical Acesulfame Potassium
Neocate Junior, Chocolate Sucralose
Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Vanilla Sucralose
Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Strawberry Sucralose
Neocate Splash, Grape Sucralose
Neocate Splash, Orange-Pineapple Sucralose
Neocate Splash, Tropical Fruit Acesulfame Potassium

 

We hope this information is helpful!

-Rob McCandlish, RDN

Add Comment

Leave a Comment  Read our Comments & Trackbacks Policy before submitting a comment.

Required fields *



About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.