Mother’s milk is the perfect food for newborns. Babies thrive on its nourishment the first year/years of life. Breast milk contains mostly fat at 54 percent, next carbohydrates at 39 percent, and lastly protein at 7 percent. These provide the amino acids and fatty acid composition, especially for the brain, during the rapid growth that infants experience during their first 4-6 months of life. As babies grow, their caloric requirements change and solid foods are introduced. But do their macronutrient ratios change as they grow into adults? To examine this more closely, let’s look at the basic role of each nutrient in the body.
FATS: At nine calories per gram, fats provide the most concentrated form of energy in the body. Fats play a key role in supporting immune function, aid in the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, insulate internal organs, regulate body temperature and maintain healthy skin and hair. Our cell membranes are made of fat.
Healthy fats keep cell membranes permeable to allow nutrients in and waste products out of the cell. More than 70 percent of the dry weight of the brain is fat. Unfortunately, fats have gotten a bad reputation from the heart-healthy, low-fat diet gurus. However, as you’re about to read, all fats are not created equally.
After reviewing all the benefits of healthy fats, it’s easy to see why breast milk contains over half of its macronutrients in the form of fats. Babies need to it to grow and evidently adults need it for optimal health. Next time, we’ll look at the other macronutrients found in abundance in breast milk: carbohydrates.
1Jaminet, Paul, and Shou-Ching Jaminet. “The Safe Fats: SaFA and MUFA.” Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat. New York: Scribner, 2012. 133. Print.
“Child and Adolescent Nutrition.” The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) : Your Guide to Food Safety & Quality and Health & Nutrition for a Balanced Diet and Healthy Lifestyle. N.p., June 2006. Web. 21 Feb. 2015.
Kresser, Chris. “Fats as Fuel: Give Yourself an Oil Change.” Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life. New York: Little, Brown, 2013. 94-117. Print.
Rosedale, Ron, and Carol Colman. “Why Good Fat Does a Body Good.” The Rosedale Diet. New York: HarperResource, 2004. 67. Print.
“The Carb-Sane Asylum.” The Carb-Sane Asylum. Evelyn Aka CarbSane, 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 21 Feb. 2015.
Wolf, Robb. “Fat, Have a Seat, This May Take a Little While.” The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet. Las Vegas: Victory Belt, 2010. 102-116. Print.