We all want what is best for our children, and it can be hard to see through the marketing haze to get the answers we need.
That’s why we’ve done hours upon hours of research to compile the most comprehensive breakdown of the difference between Similac and Enfamil on the web.
Similac Infant Formula.
Similac is one of the most well known infant formula brands on the market today, and it looks like none of that market share was won through keeping things simple.
Similac offers no less than 15 different types of formula, and that’s without counting some of their more esoteric offerings.
It’s important to note that some of these formulations have a GMO and a non GMO variety. For the sake of simplicity we will simply be bypassing the GMO variety as they are rare in stores and most people would prefer the non GMO in any case.
In the standard line of infant formulas Similac offers:
- Similac Pro-Advance.
- Similac Advance.
- Similac For Supplementation.
- Similac Organic.
- Similac Pure Bliss.
In an effort to compare apples to apples we will be comparing like products from other top brands to compare, however to start with we need to establish what these different “classes” of infant formula mean.
Here is a breakdown of the “macro nutrients” in the standard lineup of Similac infant formulas.
Macro Nutrients in Similac Infant Formula.
|Nutrition Per 100 calories||Total Fat g||Protein g||Carbohydrates g||Linoeic Acid (CLA) mg|
|Similac For Supplementation||5.6||2.07||10.8||1,000mg|
|Similac Pure Bliss||5.6||2.07||10.7||938|
As we can see here there is almost no difference in the macro nutrient profile of these standard formulas.
Fat, protein and carbohydrates are probably familiar to most at this point. Some of you may be wondering what the Linoleic Acid is and why it matters.
Linoleic Acid is a polyunsaturated “Omega-6” fatty acid, it is also considered an essential fatty acid because it cannot be synthesized by the human body.
Although Linoleic Acid is essential to human health in very small amounts, there is some evidence that too much Omega-6 fat can be harmful. In either case, it is an important nutrient for healthy development in infants.
Vitamins in Similac Infant formula.
|Nutrients per 100 calories||Vitamin A IU||Vitamin D IU||Vitamin E IU||Vitamin K mcg||Vitamin C mg||Thiamin mcg||Riboflavin mcg||Vitamin B6 mcg||Vitamin B12 mcg||Niacin mcg||Folic Acid mcg||Pantothenic Acid mcg||Biotin mcg||Choline mg||Inositol mg|
|Similac For Supplementation||300||75||1.5||8||9||100||160||63||0.26||1100||16||470||4.6||24||4.9|
|Similac Pure Bliss||300||75||1.5||8||9||100||160||63||0.26||1100||16||470||4.6||24||4.9|
Once again, surprisingly, most of the formulations have almost identical nutrient profiles.
The only notable difference is the much lower Choline in the Organic formulation.
Choline is particularly important to infants as it plays a vital role in the creation of organs through aiding in the synthesis of cell membranes. Infant formula is already lower in Choline to begin with than human breast milk and so the lowered Choline status of the Organic formula is worth considering.
That being said, the amount is still well within healthy levels, and the fact that it is an organic formula may add some weight onto the other side of the scales.
Minerals in Similac Infant Formula.
|Nutrients Per 100 calories||Calcium, mg||Calcium, mEq||Phosphorus, mg||Magnesium, mg||Iron, mg||Zinc, mg||Manganese, mcg||Copper, mcg||Iodine, mcg||Selenium, mcg||Sodium, mg||Sodium, mEq||Potassium, mg||Potassium, mEq||Chloride, mg||Chloride, mEq|
|Similac For Supplementation||82||4.1||44||6||1.9||0.79||5||95||6||2||25||1.1||110||2.8||68||1.9|
|Similac Pure Bliss||82||4.1||44||6||1.9||0.79||5||95||8||2||25||1.1||110||2.8||68||1.9|
Once again, we notice a distinct lack of variety when it comes to nutrients. The Organic continues to rank lower overall in nutrition, although, once again the differences as minuscule.
What is the difference then? Is it all a marketing scheme? Well, not quite. Let’s take a look at ingredients.
Reduced Inflammation and Improved Immune Response With 2-FL HMO.
Similac Pro-Advance contains 2′-Fucosyllactose, Fructooligosaccharides (2-FL HMO)
Similac Advance contains only Galactooligosaccharides.
According to Similac the 2-FL HMO is a powerful prebiotic (A substance which promotes healthy gut bacteria development when ingested) normally found in human breast milk.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, scientists reported that infants fed formulas containing 2-FL HMO displayed similar markers of inflammation and immune response to breast fed infants. This is very important. Reduced immune function has long been a known possible outcome for infants fed on formula. If that gap can now be closed by 2-FL HMO formulas it could do a great deal to close the gap between breastfed and formula fed infants.
According to Similac the “For Supplementation” formula has more prebiotics, but does not contain 2-FL HMO.
Similac Organic and Pure Bliss.
Obviously an ingredient comparison between the “Organic” or “Pure Bliss” and the standard formulas would be moot. Suffice it to say that the organic formula is largely the same as the “Advance” but with a handful of substitutions where organic ingredients were needed.
The “Pure Bliss” formulation is interesting to compare with the “Organic” however. Simply because you would assume there would be a lot of overlap between the two. It turns out they serve largely different purposes.
“Pure Bliss” surprisingly is not made with organic ingredients, but is Kosher, Halal and Hormone free.
Similac Total Comfort Breakdown.
You can read our Similac Total Comfort vs Enfamil Gentlease write-up here.
Enfamil Infant Formula.
Enfamil is the 2nd largest infant formula brand in America and also Similac’s chief competitor. Enfamil has even more formulations.
Today we are looking at:
- Enfamil Newborn.
- Enfamil Infant.
- Enfamil Enspire.
- Enfamil Enfagrow.
Macro Nutrients in Enfamil Infant Formula.
|Nutrients Per 100 calories||Total Fat, g||Protein, g||Carbohydrates, g||Linoleic Acid, mg|
Once again we can see a very slight difference between the formulations in terms of macro nutrients.
Vitamins in Enfamil Infant Formula.
|Nutrients Per 100 calories||Vitamin A, IU||Vitamin D, IU||Vitamin E, IU||Vitamin K, mcg||Vitamin C, mg||Thiamin (b1), mcg||Riboflavin (b2), mcg||Vitamin B6, mcg||Vitamin B12, mcg||Niacin, mcg||Folic Acid, mcg||Pantothenic Acid, mcg||Biotin, mcg||Choline, mg||Inositol, mg|
Enfamil’s formulas are even more homogenous than Similac in terms of vitamins. Per 100 calories these formulations are effectively identical.
Minerals in Enfamil Infant Formula.
|Nutrients per 100 calories||Calcium, mg||Phosphorous, mg||Magnesium. mg||Iron, mg||Zing, mg||Manganese, mcg||Copper, mcg||Iodine, mcg||Selenium, mcg||Sodium, mg||Potassium, mg||Chloride, mg|
Whoa! That’s a lot of calcium in the Enfagrow formulation. This makes sense as Calcium requirements rise rapidly beyond the first year of age into childhood.
The Enfagrow formulation is really showing it’s hand here with increased Calcium, Sodium, Chloride, Potassium and Phosphorous.
Other than the Enfagrow, however, there remains little to differentiate these products.
Ingredients in Enfamil Infant Formula.
It looks like we will have to look to the ingredients once more to look for differences.
The Enfamil Newborn features a higher whey/casein protein ratio (More whey, less casein) than the other options.
All other ingredients are virtually the same between the offerings.
Milk Fat Globule Membrane(MFGM) and Lactoferrin For Better Gut Health.
MFGM is a complex mix of milk lipids (fats) that have been showed in at least one study to improve brain development in infants.
Lactoferrin is a whey protein found in human breast milk. It has been shown to increase intestinal health in 12-18 month-olds.
Bear in mind that the Enfamil Enspire does not include 2-FL HMO, and that the Similac Pro-Advance does not feature MFGM or Lactoferrin.
So once again, these would be key in explaining the difference between Similac and Enfamil.
All Enfamil’s formulas also feature pre and pro biotics for maximum gut health.
The Difference Between Similac and Enfamil.
We hope this write-up has shed some light on the difference between Similac and Enfamil infant formula.
It’s important to speak with a healthcare professional before making a change in your infant’s diet.