Comparisons of Dietary Fats


Fat is made up of glycerol and fatty acids. It is one of the three main nutrients that supply energy to the body. The other two are carbohydrates, and proteins. Fatty acids are the basic unit of a molecule of fat. The type of fatty acid depends on the arrangement of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

Monounsaturated Fatty Acid:

Fatty acids that are missing one hydrogen pair on their chemical chain. These types of fat are liquid at room temperature, and include canola, nut, and olive oils.

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid:

These fatty acids have two or more missing hydrogen pairs on their chemical chains. These fats are soft or liquid at room temperature, and inlucde corn, safflower, soybean, and sunflower oils. This is also the type of fat found in many seafoods. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly polyunsaturated found in higher-fat seafoods such as mackerel, and salmon.

Saturated Fatty Acid:

This type of fat has all the hydrogen pairs that is can hold on its chemical chain. Saturated fat comes mainly from animal sources, like meat, butter, and milk. At room temperature this type of fat is a solid..

Trans Fatty Acid:

Unsaturated fats can undergo a process of hydrogenation. Hydrogen is added to the chemical chain to make the fatty acid more saturated. This extends the shelf life and makes the fat more solid at room temperature. Trans fatty acids are formed during this hydrogenation process.