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question about fats and omega fatty acids

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  • question about fats and omega fatty acids

    I've been reading articles on MDA about the different types of omega fats and am somewhat confused. Could someone fill in the blanks here and/or correct what I already have:

    1. Polyunsaturated fats = 100% omega-6 always
    2. Monounsaturated fats = omega-???
    3. Saturated fats = omega-???
    4. ??? = omega-9

    Are all monounsaturated and saturated fats of a certain "omega type"?

    I've heard olive oil contains omega-9 fatty acids. Is that true? I don't seem to see omega-9 mentioned much around here.

    Is it possible to tell how much omega-3/6/9 is in a food simply by looking at what percent of fats are polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated?

    Maybe Mark covered this in a previous article but my search isn't finding it.

  • #2
    No, all fatty acids that start with omega are unsaturated fatty acids. The omega nomenclature denotes the location of the first double bond counting from the methyl end of the fatty acid. You can visualize fatty acids as molecules that have a carboxylic acid "head" and a hydrocarbon "tail." The methyl end of the fatty acid is the end of the hydrocarbon tail. The first carbon on the hydrocarbon tail, the one furthest away from the carboxylic acid, is C1. The first double bond on an omega-3 fatty acid is located between C3 and C4. The first double bond on an omega-6 fatty acid is located between C6 and C7. The first double bond on an omega-9 fatty acid is located between C9 and C10.

    There are only three types of omega-3 fatty acids, and all of them are polyunsaturated. All omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated as well. The omega-9s can be polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. Most of them are monounsaturated. Oleic acid (18:1), for example, is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. In case you're wondering, the 18:1 means that it has 18 carbons and 1 double bond.

    Saturated fats are not omega anything because they do not have any double bonds.

    I hope this helps. It's not possible to figure out the ration of omega-3/6/9 by looking at the percentages of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated.

    My journal

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    • #3
      Originally posted by diene View Post
      No, all fatty acids that start with omega are unsaturated fatty acids. The omega nomenclature denotes the location of the first double bond counting from the methyl end of the fatty acid. You can visualize fatty acids as molecules that have a carboxylic acid "head" and a hydrocarbon "tail." The methyl end of the fatty acid is the end of the hydrocarbon tail. The first carbon on the hydrocarbon tail, the one furthest away from the carboxylic acid, is C1. The first double bond on an omega-3 fatty acid is located between C3 and C4. The first double bond on an omega-6 fatty acid is located between C6 and C7. The first double bond on an omega-9 fatty acid is located between C9 and C10.

      There are only three types of omega-3 fatty acids, and all of them are polyunsaturated. All omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated as well. The omega-9s can be polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. Most of them are monounsaturated. Oleic acid (18:1), for example, is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. In case you're wondering, the 18:1 means that it has 18 carbons and 1 double bond.

      Saturated fats are not omega anything because they do not have any double bonds.

      I hope this helps. It's not possible to figure out the ration of omega-3/6/9 by looking at the percentages of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated.
      Does that mean that monounsaturated and saturated fats don't contribute at all to the O6/O3 ratio that is discussed?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Special K View Post
        Does that mean that monounsaturated and saturated fats don't contribute at all to the O6/O3 ratio that is discussed?
        If you're eating 100% monounsaturated or saturated fats, you would not be eating any omega-6 or omega-3's. But you're not eating 100% monounsaturated or saturated fats, because most of your fat sources represent a mix of PUFA, MUFA, and SFA's, and the trace amounts of n-6 and n-3 you need are negligible by comparison to the total fat content of most peoples' diets.
        The Champagne of Beards

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        • #5
          Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
          If you're eating 100% monounsaturated or saturated fats, you would not be eating any omega-6 or omega-3's. But you're not eating 100% monounsaturated or saturated fats, because most of your fat sources represent a mix of PUFA, MUFA, and SFA's, and the trace amounts of n-6 and n-3 you need are negligible by comparison to the total fat content of most peoples' diets.
          I didn't mean that one would be eating 100% MUFA/SFA. I only meant that any MUFA/SFA consumed wouldn't contribute at all toward the O3/O6 ratio.

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          • #6
            Yes that is what is being said.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Special K View Post
              I didn't mean that one would be eating 100% MUFA/SFA. I only meant that any MUFA/SFA consumed wouldn't contribute at all toward the O3/O6 ratio.
              I'm pointing out that things you consider "saturated fats" contain unsaturates as well. Beef fat, for instance, contains SFA's, MUFA's, and PUFA's.
              The Champagne of Beards

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