What are fatty acids?
Fatty acids are the chemical compounds that make up fats. Fatty acids are chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached to the carbon atoms. A “saturated” fatty acid has the maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms attached to every carbon atom. It is therefore said to be “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. Sometimes a pair of hydrogen atoms in the middle of a chain is missing, creating a gap that leaves two carbon atoms connected by a double bond, rather than a single bond. The missing hydrogen atoms cause the chain to be “unsaturated.” A fatty acid that has one double bond is said to be “monounsaturated.” Fatty acids having more than one double bond are called “polyunsaturated.” Usually, the hydrogen atoms at a double bond are positioned on the same side of the carbon chain. In fact, all fatty acids listed as “monounsaturated” and “polyunsaturated” in nutrition labeling are of this type (i.e., in the “cis” configuration). The structure of saturated and unsaturated chemical bonds
Fatty acids are the basic building blocks for all lipids. Fatty acids are the nutritional components found in dietary fats and oils, and are chemical “chains” consisting of carbon and hydrogen and ending with an acid group. Fatty acids vary in length and degree of saturation, and are generally up to 26 carbons long. The specific chemistry of the fatty acid, including the number of carbons and double bonds, will affect how it functions in the body, including its health benefits. For more detailed information on fatty acids we recommend “Know Your Fats,” by Mary Enig (available on our Book Links page).
Fatty acids are acids produced when fats are broken down. They are considered “good fats.” These acids are not highly soluble in water, and they can be used for energy by most types of cells. They may be monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, or saturated. They are organic, or in other words, they contain both carbon and hydrogen molecules. Fatty acids are found in oils and other fats that make up different foods. They are an important part of a healthy diet, because the body needs them for several purposes. Fatty acids help move oxygen through the bloodstream to all parts of the body. They aid cell membrane development, strength, and function, and they are necessary for strong organs and tissue. Fatty acids can also help keep skin healthy, help prevent early aging, and may promote weight loss by helping the body process cholesterol. More importantly, they help rid the arteries of cholesterol build up. Another purpose of fatty acids is to assist the adrenal and thyroid glands, which may als
They are lipids, (organic compounds with limited solubility in water), that can be directly utilized as a source of energy by most body cells. Fatty acids are the basic building blocks for all lipids. Fatty acids are the nutritional components found in dietary fats and oils, and are chemical “chains” consisting of carbon and hydrogen and ending with an acid group. Fatty acids vary in length and degree of saturation, and are generally up to 26 carbons long. The specific chemistry of the fatty acid, including the number of carbons and double bonds, will affect how it functions in the body, including its health benefits. What are unsaturated fatty acids? Unsaturated fatty acids result when not all carbons in the chemical chain are saturated with hydrogen. This means that the fat molecule contains one or more double bond. The double bonds create “kinks” in the molecule, producing a fat that is fluid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are known as “good” fats because they help cellular f
Fatty acids are specific types of polyunsaturated fats. The two main classes of fatty acids we will be discussing are the omega-3’s and the omega-6’s. These classifications are based on molecular characteristics. (For you biochemistry buffs out there, check out the text box at the end of this article.) You may also have heard about omega-9 fatty acids. Omega-9’s actually decrease the concentrations of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the blood and skin.
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