Current ideas regarding the ability of the organism of the very young to digest starch have undergone considerable change in recent years. The supposed failure to detect starch-digesting enzymes in the saliva of the new-born was presumably responsible for the conclusion that the body possesses no mechanism for converting starch into absorbable derivatives at an early age. On such a deduction obviously rests the decision as to whether starch in any form can properly be included in the food of this period of life; in other words, the problem of the time when cereal feeding may become a physiologic propriety is here involved.
Careful examination of the saliva of the very young has, however, shown that amylase is by no means always entirely lacking; but even if it were, the possibilities for the digestive utilization of starch are not limited to the efficiency of the saliva. Beside the salivary glands,
STARCH DIGESTION IN EARLY LIFE. JAMA. 1918;70(18):1299-1300. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600180027012