Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Aug;17(4):327-32.

Absorption of fat and calcium by infants fed a milk-based formula containing palm olein.

Author information

Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242-1083, USA.



The study tested the hypothesis that inclusion of palm olein (45% of fat) in the fat blend of a milk-based infant formula decreases the absorption of fat and calcium.


Formula PO contained palm olein (45%) in addition to soy, coconut and high-oleic sunflower oils (20%, 20%, and 15%, respectively); Formula HOS contained high-oleic safflower oil (42%) in addition to coconut and soy oils (30% and 28%, respectively) and no palm olein. Fat and calcium levels in the two formulas were similar. In a balanced crossover design, fat and calcium absorption were determined in 10 normal infants ranging in age from 22 to 192 days. In three infants metabolic balance studies with complete separation of urine and feces were performed, whereas in seven infants excreta were in part collected at home, resulting in incomplete separation of urine and feces.


Mean (+/- SD) fecal excretion of fat was higher when Formula PO was fed than when Formula HOS was fed (0.55 +/- 0.29 vs. 0.09 +/- 0.04 g/kg/day; p < 0.001). Hence % fat absorption was lower with PO than with HOS (90.0 +/- 6.4 vs. 98.5 +/- 0.6% of intake; p < 0.01). The difference in percent fat absorption was explained by significantly (p < 0.05) lower % absorption of palmitic (16:0) and stearic (18:0) acids when Formula PO was fed than when Formula HOS was fed. Fecal excretion of calcium was higher with Formula PO than with Formula HOS (53.4 +/- 12.0 vs. 37.4 +/- 14.9 mg/kg/day; p < 0.01), and hence % calcium absorption was lower with Formula PO than with Formula HOS (37.5 +/- 11.5 vs. 57.4 +/- 14.9%; p < 0.001).


Absorption of fat and calcium by normal infants is lower when palm olein provides a substantial proportion of formula fat than when formula does not contain palm olein.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center