Growing, active children need about 30-40% of their energy from fats. Fats are made up of individual fatty acids, which are a long chain of carbon molecules. Three fatty acids are attached to a special sugar molecule to form a structure call triglyceride (see diagram). When ingested, the triglycerides are broken down to release the fatty acids, which are then absorbed across the intestine. After being absorbed by the body, the carbon molecules in the fatty acids are metabolised to provide energy.
The absorption of long chain saturated fatty acids is determined by its position within the triglyceride molecule. Long chain saturated fatty acids from the middle position are absorbed more effectively than fatty acids from the two outside positions. Most of the long chain fatty acids in vegetable oils are in the two outside positions of the triglyceride. High concentrations of long chain fatty acids from vegetable oils and have been associated with poor absorption of fats in infants.
To avoid this problem some formula manufacturers use a chemical and enzymatic process to alter the position of long chain saturated fatty within the triglycerides. However, Dairy Goat Co-operative (NZ) Ltd uses an alternative, less complex, process that combines goat milk fat with vegetables oils. Analysis completed in New Zealand confirms that this alternative, more natural approach, achieves a high proportion of long chain saturated fatty acids in this formula similar to chemical procedures.
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