Understanding Fat in Formula Leave a comment

According to FDA regulations, animal fats are not permitted in infant formula. This means that the fat in formula must come from vegetable oils. Read on to learn more about fatty acids, KABRITA’s premium OPO fat blend and how it supports development.

By Dr. Annie Salsberg, N.D.

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. 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, at 6 months post partum: 


Matching the profile

Vegetable 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 commonly-used vegetable oils in commercially made formula.


As no one vegetable oil has a comparable fatty acid profile to that of human milk, formulas contain a vegetable oil blend. KABRITA is the only company in North American to use an OPO fat blend. Not only is this blend patterned after the fatty acid profile of human milk, it also, uniquely, matches the structure of the fats. KABRITA’s OPO fat blend has been clinically proven to increase both calcium and fatty acid absorption, improve stool consistency, promote a healthy gut microflora, and to decrease in colic and gas.

Dr. Annie Salsberg is a board-certified naturopathic physician and Nutritional Sciences and Education Manager at KABRITA USA.

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Kabrita Formula is available for purchase at all Baby City stores, all Dischem Stores and all Wellness Warehouse Stores as well as on our website www.kabrita.co.za.

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