Interrelation Among Dietary Energy and Fat Intakes, Maternal Body Fatness, and Milk Total Lipid in Humans

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The relationship between maternal dietaryintakes of energy or fat maternal body composition andthe milk fat concentration is an important element inunderstanding the role of breast-milk in infantnutrition. In most studies in both developing anddeveloped countries, no relation between maternal energyintake and milk fat content was observed. In only onepublished study, in which maternal fat intake comprised a very low 5% of calories, was a short termreduction in milk lipid observed in some subjects. Onthe other hand, a positive relation between maternalfatness and milk fat is evident in both well-nourished and under-nourished women when appropriatemethodologies have been used. Low milk fatconcentrations are associated with higher milk volumesprobably because infant demand determines milk intake,compensating, at least partially, for low milk fat. Noimpairment of infant growth was associated with low milkfat, in studies where it has been measured. Themechanism for the relationship between body fat and milk fat is a fertile field for additionalinvestigation.