Happy parents: What are fats and what is their role in the child’s diet? Natalia Shilina: Fats are a kind of “building blocks” of our body. They constitute up to 60% of the dry matter mass of the brain, of which 35% are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.
This complex term is called special fats, which contribute to the development of the eyes and intellect of the crumbs, the normal activity of its nervous system, and the strengthening of immunity. They are an important plastic material because they form cell walls and are part of every cell in the human body.
As you can see, in order for a child to grow and develop properly, fats are simply necessary.
S. R.: Where does the baby’s body get the fats necessary for its rapid growth and development? Natalia Shilina: A child receives all the necessary fatty acids with mother’s milk from birth. Breast milk is a unique product, so WHO strongly recommends that young mothers feed the baby.
However, in cases where, due to circumstances, this becomes impossible, the natural source of nutrients, including fats, becomes infant formula, which contains various vegetable oils: sunflower, palm, soybean, rapeseed. Of course, not a single natural oil in itself can repeat the unique fat composition of breast milk, therefore, in the manufacture of infant formulas, a composition of vegetable oils is used.
Here is a simple math: at the time of birth, the child’s body weight is approximately 5% of the adult’s body weight, while the brain makes up as much as 70% of the adult’s brain weight! Imagine what intensive nutrition your child needs for the development of this most important organ. And beneficial fatty acids – just what you need for its nutrition.
Another example. Newborns do not have a complete vision, it is formed gradually and reaches full development only by the age of 24 months, while the membrane of the retina contains 60% omega-3 acid.
Therefore, it is important that the child continues to receive this and other fatty acids, either with breast milk or as part of infant formula.
S. R.: Tell us in more detail how infant formulas are created and on the basis of what research is their composition developed? Natalia Shilina: Russian and foreign scientists in major research centers around the world are engaged, on the one hand, in studying the composition of breast milk, and on the other, in studying the needs of children of different ages.
And at the junction of these two studies, children’s products are being created, in particular, special infant formulas. Of course, breast milk is the best that a mother can give to her baby.
Specialists create their products in the image and likeness of this “gold” standard, selecting the ingredients and those fatty acids that satisfy the needs of the child and which are part of the mother’s milk.
S. R.: Today they talk a lot about the dangers of palm oil. Is this statement true? Vladimir Bessonov: Palm oil in baby food is not the same as that used for technical purposes in factories, and not even what is sometimes added to adult food.
In modern infant formula contains only edible vegetable oils or their fractions. They are processed in a special way and as close as possible to the “ideal fat” for the child. Breast milk fat per quarter is represented by palmitic acid.
Palm oil is a natural source of this acid, which is why it is added to baby food. The baby easily copes with the digestion of this and other vegetable oils in milk formulas – just as it copes with the fat that makes up the mother’s milk. Moreover, palm oil, specially processed for baby food, is well absorbed with vitamins and minerals.
There are no official documents prohibiting the use of palm oil in the production of baby food in the same Europe, for where to get palmitic acid for the production of food for the baby? And he needs palmitic acid a lot. Our regulatory requirements for oils in baby food are in no way inferior to those of Europe.
Moreover, I can say that the standards for a number of indicators of such a product as palm oil are about 10 times harder in Russia than in the whole world. That is why moms and dads can not worry at the sight of the words “vegetable oil” or “palm oil” on the packaging of infant formula.