Fatty Acid


Fatty Acid, Dietary Fat, Cooking Oil

  • Approach
  • Oils
  1. Use olive oil in non-high heat preparation (cold salads, roasting)
  2. Safflower oil, canola oil and peanut oil are safer oils for cooking, able to withstand high heat
  • Types
  • Saturated Fatty Acid
  1. Carbon chain with a maximum number of attached hydrogens (no double bonds)
  2. Risks
    1. Increases LDL Cholesterol (esp. long chain Fatty Acids with >10 carbons)
    2. Increased Coronary Artery Disease risk
  3. Examples
    1. Palmitic Acid (e.g. Palm oil): 16 carbon chain
    2. Stearic Acid (e.g. Animal fat): 18 carbon chain
  • Types
  • Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
  1. Carbon chain with a single pair of missing hydrogens (1 double bond)
  2. Benefits
    1. Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
    2. Lowers LDL Cholesterol
  3. Examples
    1. Oleic Acid (e.g. Olive oil): 18 carbon chain
  • Types
  • Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
  1. Carbon chain with more than 1 pair of missing hydrogens (more than 1 double bond)
  2. Benefits
    1. Specific to Omega-3 Fatty Acids (sub-type of polyunsaturated fats)
  3. Risks
    1. Increased weight gain
    2. Gallstone formation
  4. Examples
    1. Linoleic Acid (e.g. Safflower oil): 18 carbon chain (essential Fatty Acid)
    2. Linolenic Acid (e.g. Soybean oil): 18 carbon chain (essential Fatty Acid)
    3. Arachidonic Acid (e.g. Meat and dairy products): 20 carbon chain (essential Fatty Acid)
    4. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (e.g. Fish Oil): 20 carbon chain (essential Fatty Acid)
    5. Docosahexaenoic Acid (e.g. Fish Oil): 22 carbon chain (essential Fatty Acid)
  • Types
  • Trans-Fatty Acids
  1. Double bond of unsaturated fat is in trans-configuration
    1. Hydrogens are on opposite sides of the double bonds
    2. Contrast with cis-configuration where the hydrogens are on same side of the bond
  2. Synthesized via hydrogenation (artificial addition of hydrogens)
    1. Converts liquid vegetable oils to semi-solids or solid fats
  3. Risks
    1. Directly associated with increased risk of heart disease
    2. Increase LDL Cholesterol and Serum Triglycerides
    3. Decreases HDL Cholesterol
  4. Examples
    1. Elaidic Acid (e.g. margarines): 18 carbon chain (this is the trans form of oleic acid)
  • Prevention
  • Dietary Recommendations
  1. Keep Fatty Acid intake less than 30% of total daily calories
  2. Limit saturated fat to less than 7% of total daily calories
  3. Limit trans-fats to less than 1% of total daily calories