Objective: This paper compares the effects of goat's milk and cow's milk on weight gain and fat absorption, in children with overt malnutrition.
Methods: Thirty hospitalized malnourished children aged from 1 to 5 years were included in a randomized double-blind trial. The children were fed either goat or cow's milk with a randomized will defined composition, added with vegetable oil, sugar, vitamins and minerals o achieve 1,000 kcal/liter. Children were offered 100 kcal/kg on the first day, with a regular daily increase in energy intake thereafter that reached 200 kcal/kg per day on the tenth day.
Results: Both groups of children had the same degree of malnutrition on inclusion. The mean weight-for-height Z score was -1.7 in both groups. One death with candidiasis occurred in the goat's milk group. Weight gain was similar in both groups: 8.5 g/kg/day (SE = 1.37) with goat's milk and 7.8 (SE = 1.9) with cow's milk. There was no significant difference in HEM intake: 157 ml/kg/day (SE = 4), vs 162 (SE = 4) for goat and cow's milk, respectively. Fat absorption coefficients on the 15th day of treatment were also similar in both groups.
Conclusion: These results suggest that goat's milk has a nutritional value similar to that of cow's milk and could be used as an alternative to cow's milk for rehabilitating undernourished children.