Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are thought of as the building blocks of fat and they all contain a chain of carbon atoms.  They can be short, medium or long chain fatty acids.  These chains can be saturated or unsaturated.

Saturated fatty acids are complete atoms that are stable and don’t interact with other molecules.  They provide stability to the cell membrane which can help prevent foreign particles from entering the cell.

Unsaturated fatty acids are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.  These are more flexible and allow the cell membrane to absorb the nutrients necessary for health.  Omega-3 and omega-6 are both considered polyunsaturated fats.

It’s important to have both saturated and unsaturated fat in your diet to have healthy cells.

Trans fat removes some unsaturated fatty acids through a process called hydrogenation.  In this process hydrogen is pushed into the substance creating a new form of fatty acid that the body doesn’t recognize.  This will have a negative affect on your health.  Try to avoid trans fat or anything labeled partially hydrogenated.

Fats

Fats also known as lipids are used to store energy, transport fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K, produce eicosanoids, and are part of the cell membrane.  Fats are mainly found in seeds, nuts, meats, and dairy.

Fats can be categorized into fatty acids, triglycerides, phospholipids, and cholesterol.

Digestion of lipids primarily occurs in the small intestines.  Chewing your food will begin to separate fats.  Once in the stomach, hydrochloric acid or HCL will break down some of the fats.  When it moves into the small intestines, the gall bladder releases bile to emulsify fats.  It then moves into the liver which is the where fat metabolism occurs.

It’s important to know the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats and essential to consume healthy fats on a daily basis.  If too much unhealthy fat is consumed it can lead to various diseases.