Galactose in Early Life Nutrition (GALE)
This project will investigate the effects of usage of new digestible carbohydrate mixtures comprising galactose-glucose vs. maltodextrin in early-life nutrition on (long term) metabolic health. The aim is to identify replacements for lactose in lactose low/free products to: 1) improve long term metabolic health of the young consumer; 2) keep the relative sweetness of the final product close to standard human milk (lactose only), and overall improve product quality for those consumers that cannot benefit from lactose and its potential health benefits. This project contributes directly to overall insights of healthy diets.
Insights into the effects of new carbohydrate mixtures of early-life nutrition will have long lasting effects due to nutritional programming. Previously, beneficial health effects were observed by replacing part of the carbohydrate fraction by an alternative carbohydrate, galactose, and here we will continue focusing on the galactose-induced effects. As such, it contributes to the mission of KIA and MMIP D2: consumer, sustainable and healthy nutrition.
Today, a large fraction of infants and toddlers consume lactose low/free products due to different reasons such as lactose intolerance, allergy related complications, and gastrointestinal discomforts. Lactose is the main carbohydrate component of human milk, a dimer composed of monomers glucose and galactose. Infant and toddler nutrition provided as lactose-free products therefor lack the carbohydrate galactose. We showed previously that galactose has beneficial health effects, both as direct effects, as well as via nutritional programming: into adulthood when challenged by an obesogenic diet the early-life intake of galactose showed pronounced effects. Addition of galactose in infant and toddler nutrition might provide a way to also support those vulnerable populations. This is investigated in the current project.
Ethical permission will be asked for and granted (2021); once all diets and consumables are delivered to execute the pre-clinical nutritional programming study, the study will be performed (2022), physiological data analysed and a report written (deliverable, 2022). This will be followed on by writing and submission of a scientific publication (2022-2023).