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Heavy Whipping Cream Lactose Content



First, test your own thinking


Consider a formula recipe of 1/2 parts each of Esbilac® and FV 32/40 mixed with 2 parts of water, with a fat supplement of an added 1/4 part of heavy whipping cream (HWC). How much does the lactose of the overall volume of formula increase due to the addition of the HWC?


A.) The formula now has an additional 1.0% of lactose,


B.) An additional 1.8%,


C.) An additional 2.3%, or


D.) Some other amount.

Step 1 (to the answer)﷯


How much lactose is in the base formula (without the added HWC)? Easy enough, just input the recipe into WildAgain's Wildlife Formula Calculator and it displays that 2.8% of the formula is carbohydrates. This is mainly lactose except for a few stray molecules. That represents the amount of lactose that is contained in the combination of the two powdered milk replacers.

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Step 2 ﷯


Now add the 1/4 part HWC. Keep in mind that HWC is mostly fat, and  only about 3% lactose. Input this amended recipe into WildAgain's Nutrition Calculator and it displays that now 2.9% of the formula is carbohydrates. So it did increase in lactose content, but only a tenth of a percent, or .1%.

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Step 3


Lastly, since most people think in linear terms, they really do not appreciate how relatively small a tenth of a percent really is. So let’s express it another way, in parts per thousand of the entire milk formula (shown left) and we see that the addition of the HWC adds a thousandth of a part of lactose to the entire milk formula. 

Using HWC as a fat supplement, as in this example, boosts lactose content by only one-thousandth of a part, but yields the following increases in the formula:


1.) Fat content up 44% with a corresponding increase of kcals of 25%. 2.) For the dietary minerals, concentrations of calcium and phosphorous increase 17% and 23% respectively.



The concern voiced by some that the impact of the use of HWC results in adding a large and unacceptable amount of additional lactose to the formula seems a bit overstated. 


For those whose eyes may glaze over with all of the numbers shown above, here is a visual depiction of what a thousandth of a part looks like (without using numbers):

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Freezing heavy whipping cream will result in ice crystals - thaw prior to mixing with formula


Some refrigerators have cold spots that can fall below freezing temperature or even lower. If a container of heavy whipping cream begins to partially freeze, ice crystals will begin to form and cause clumps to develop that will fall to the bottom of the container and may not be visible. If the cream has developed ice crystals and is not allowed to thaw, and is then added to a prepared liquid formula, the clumps will remain and can have unwanted consequences. These clumps can clog feeding utensils. If fed in this form, it can certainly cause palatability and digestive issues. 

If the cream was purposely frozen in the freezer for longer term storage, it should be thawed prior to use. After thawing it may be slightly runny and some separation may have occurred. Otherwise the cream should be fine for feeding.

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