Fatty Acid Balance

Fats compose about 15% of our body weight.  Animal and vegetable sources of fat provide a concentrated source of energy in our diet.  Culturally we have a tendency to make things either good or bad and the public perception of fats is that they are bad when in fact a fairly high percentage of good quality fats are required for optimum health.

Fats provide us with a source of energy; building blocks for cell membranes and hormones; are required for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and the adequate use of proteins; serve as a protective lining for the organs of the body; play a role in slowing the absorption of food for proper energy regulation; and make food taste good.

Fats are classified into three degrees of saturation although all fats and oils are some combination of all three.

  • Saturated
    • Highly stable
    • Do not go rancid easily
    • Solid or semi-solid at room temperature
    • Non-essential as the body can make these from carbohydrates
    • Found in animal fats and tropical oils 
  • Monounsaturated
    • Relatively stable
    • Do not go rancid easily
    • Liquid at room temperature
    • Non-essential as the body can make these from saturated fats
    • Found in olive oil and oil from almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts and avocados
  • Polyunsaturated
    • Relatively unstable
    • Go rancid easily
    • Usually liquid
    • Two are essential
      • Linoleic acid (Omega 6)
      • Alpha-linolenic acid (Omega 3)
    • Never heat or use in cooking
    • Found in flax, nuts, fish and seeds
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