Fats, Fish Oil and Omega-3-Fatty Acids (cont.)
What are polyunsaturated fatty acids?
Polyunsaturated fatty acids contain more than one double bond. Examples of
foods high in polyunsaturated fats include vegetable oils, corn, sunflower, and
What are essential fatty acids?
Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that the human body
needs for metabolic functioning but cannot produce, and therefore has to be
acquired from food.
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a class of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids with
the double bond in the third carbon position from the methyl terminal (hence the
use of "3" in their description). Foods high in omega-3-fatty acids include
salmon, halibut, sardines, albacore, trout, herring, walnut, flaxseed oil, and
canola oil. Other foods that contain omega-3-fatty acids include shrimp, clams,
light chunk tuna, catfish, cod, and spinach.
What are omega-6 fatty acids?
Omega-6 fatty acids are a class of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids with
the initial double bond in the sixth carbon position from the methyl group
(hence the "6"). Examples of foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids include corn,
safflower, sunflower, soybean, and cottonseed oil.
What are the n-3 and n-6 fatty acids?
These are synonyms for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, respectively.
What are trans fatty acids?
Trans fatty acids (trans fats) are made through hydrogenation to solidify
liquid oils. Heating omega-6 oils such as corn oil to high temperatures creates
trans fats. Trans fats increase the shelf life of oils and are found in
vegetable shortenings and in some margarines, commercial pastries, fried foods,
crackers, cookies, and snack foods. Intake of trans fatty acids increases blood
LDL-cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol), decreases HDL cholesterol ("good
cholesterol"), and raises the risk of coronary heart disease.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2014