Poly unsaturated fats (PUFA) cannot be made by the body and hence must be obtained from the diet. The important ones, as mentioned earlier, are omega 6 and omega 3. Many studies have shown that replacingrefined carbohydrates and saturated fat with PUFA improves the cholesterol profile and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases in adults. The main sources of omega 6 are vegetable oils (sunflower, soyabean) and nuts like almond. Omega 3 can be found in mustard, canola and soyabean oils, walnuts, flax seeds, dark green vegetables, and oily fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines andfresh tuna.
Table 1 depicts the fatty acid composition of a few common oils. It is clear that no single source of oil can provide only good fats, since all oils have saturated, monoand poly-unsaturated fats. Hence chooseoils with a higher proportion of good fats. We also recommend a combination of oils — for example, ground nut or sesame with soyabean or canola — to create hearthealthy oils that also promote optimal growth and development in children.
Oily fish like mackerel (bangda in Hindi, aiyla in Malayalam and kaanangalathi inTamil) are cheaper and healthier than the more popular ones like seer or pomfret; however, the flipside is that these varieties have many small bones that children may choke on. So teach them how to eat these oily fish right from a young age so they gain the benefits!
Canola oil is produced from rape seed or field mustard. The oil was first derived from rape seed at a university in Canada and has less of the pungent compound (erucic acid) found in mustard oil. Thename CANOLA was coined from Canadian Oil Low Acid, and given to avoid the negative connotations of rape! So, if your family is not used to the pungency of mustard oil, canola oil can be an ideal choice to increase omega 3.
So….. how much Fat?
Now that we have an understanding of the types of fats, let us see how much of these children need.The World Health Organization recommends that a balanced diet should provide 30% of energy intake from fat, 55% from carbohydrates and 15% from protein. For example, a 10 or 11-year-old moderately active boy requires around 2000 kcal per day – which means he requires 600 calories from fat, or about 65 g (12-13 tsp of oil) of fat to meet his daily requirements (1 gm of fat = 9 kcal). Of this, at least 2/3rds should be from good fats (400 calories).