F-75 is the "starter" formula used during initial management of malnutrition, beginning as soon as possible and continuing for 2-7 days until the child is stabilized. Severely malnourished children cannot tolerate normal amounts of protein and sodium or high amounts of fat. They may die if given too much protein or sodium. They also need glucose, so they must be given a diet that is low in protein and sodium and high in carbohydrate. F-75 has is specially mixed to meet the child's needs without overwhelming the body's systems in the initial stage of treatment. Use of F-75 prevents deaths. F-75 contains 75 kcal and 0.9 g protein per 100 ml.
As soon as the child is stabilized on F-75, F-100 is used as a "catch-up" formula to rebuild wasted tissues. F-100 contains more calories and protein: 100 kcal and 2.9g protein per 100 ml.
The table below shows a number of recipes. The choice of recipe may depend on the availability of ingredients, particularly the type of milk, and the availability of cooking facilities.
The principle behind the recipes is to provide the energy and protein needed for stabilization and catch-up. For stabilization (F-75), it is important to provide a formula with the energy and protein as shown (no less and no more). For catch-up (F-100), the recipes show the minimum energy and protein contents needed.
The first three recipes given for F-75 include cereal flour and require cooking. The second part of the table shows recipes for F-75 that can be used if there is no cereal flour or no cooking facilities. However, the recipes with no cereal flour have a high osmolarity (415 mOsmol/l) and may not be tolerated well by some children with diarrhoea.
The F-100 recipes do not require cooking as they do not contain cereal flour.