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Understanding the Fat in Formula

by Kabrita USA January 22, 2016

In the US, the infant formula industry standard is to replace the fat in milk with a plant-based oil blend that models the fatty acid composition found in breast milk. Read on to learn more about the importance of fat, Kabrita's premium fat blend with beta palmitate, and how it supports development.

Baby giggling with finger in mouth

Fat is a critical macronutrient for babies and young children. It is essential for the rapid growth phase following birth, to help in the delivery of fat soluble vitamins (such as A, D, E and K) and to support neurological development and brain function.

The Building Blocks of Fat

Fatty acids are the building blocks of fat. They vary in length and are classified as short, medium, or long chain. Fatty acids are also characterized as saturated or unsaturated. Essential fatty acids are required by the body and must be obtained through diet.

Fatty Acids in Breast Milk

It is estimated that breast milk delivers 40-50% of its energy as fat and is composed of a range of fatty acids. Although research has shown that the profile is relatively comparable across countries, it does show some variation – for example, DHA levels are highest in Japan, where fish is a dietary staple for many. While the composition of breast milk is dynamic in many ways, the fat content tends to be quite stable overall.

Breast milk predominantly contains medium and long chain saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. The following chart shows some of the fatty acids found in breast milk, 6 months postpartum. You can learn more about the fatty acid composition of breastmilk here

Fatty acids in breastmilk

Plant-based Oil Blends

Plant-based oils contain a range of fatty acids and no one oil matches the fatty acid composition of breast milk. The following chart shows the fatty acid composition of plant-based oils commonly used in commercially made baby formula.

Fatty acids in vegetable oil

As no one plant-based oil has a comparable fatty acid profile to that of breast milk, baby formulas will contain a blend. These plant-based oil blends aim to model the fatty acid profile of breast milk. 

Unlike other formulas in the US, Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula uses a fat blend with beta palmitate. This type of fat blend not only models the composition but also the structure of breast milk fat. Fat blends with beta palmitate have been shown to increase both calcium and fatty acid absorption, improve stool consistency, fuel gut microflora, and decrease colic and gas.

 Want to learn more about other macronutrients in formula? Visit our blogs on Understanding Carbohydrates and Protein in Baby Formula. 


Are you curious to see if Kabrita Goat Milk Formula & Foods may be right for your family? Check out our FREE Trial Kit today!

Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula may be an option for little ones during feeding transitions, such as weaning and supplementing, or those with minor issues associated with cow milk sensitivity*.

We encourage parents to consult their little one’s healthcare provider before making a feeding change. 

*Not suitable for children with confirmed cow milk protein allergy

Kabrita USA
Kabrita USA