June 3, 2012

Fat, we can’t live with it…we can’t live without it. Fat has gone in an out of diet fads faster than current celebrities. As the research continues, the message gets more and more complex.

The Bad

Saturated and Trans are the fats that increase your blood cholesterol. Saturated are fats that are solid at room temperature. Trans are fats that are manmade through the hydrogenation process. Trans fats are found in small amounts in nature in meat and are also solid at room temperature. What about butter vs. margarine? It comes down to your health status and your preference. If you eat it rarely and really prefer the taste, butter is best.

The Good

Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. They are the fats that are good for heart health, skin etc. etc. etc. This is the category where you find the acclaimed omega 3 and 6 fats. Omega 3 and 6 are needed by your body. We don’t make them and therefore need to get them from our diet. The hard part is we commonly don’t get enough omegas 3. Omega 3 fatty acids can help decrease inflammation in your body and help keep your heart healthy.


DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) are omega 3 fatty acids. They are found most commonly in fish and seafood. These two fats can be made from other fatty acids found in plant foods such as flax, walnuts and canola oil.

Much research has been done on omega 3 fats in the last few years. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have become a food industry favorite. These fats have been added to foods like formula and yogurt and are advertised to support brain development and growth. What does this mean for you and your kids?


One of the great things about breastfeeding is you can change the type of fat in your breast milk by what you eat! Breast milk has DHA and other good fats in it, pretty much regardless of what you eat but you can change the amounts of different fats with your diet. Should you choose DHA fortified formula? Maybe, the research is conflicting. DHA supplemented formula has an impact on premature babies, but the difference hasn’t been as profound in full term babies. Breast milk does offer the best complement of fatty acids for your growing baby.

What about older babies?

Fish and good oils should be a part of a healthy kid’s diet. If you aren’t huge fish fans, some of the supplemented products like Omega 3 eggs and yogurt might be a good choice. As always I recommend good food first.

If you have any further questions please check with a Registered Dietitian near you or email chelseaharrisrd@gmail.com.

Please check www.vitaenutritionsaskatoon.com for classes on topics like this, such as Eating for Breastfeeding Success.

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