Saturated fatty acids are the simplest form of fatty acids.
They react only slowly with other chemical substances and primarily provide our body with energy.
Saturated fatty acids are mainly taken in with food; they are found in all dietary fats.
Animal fats, such as butter, fatty meats and sausages or lard, contain more saturated fats than vegetable oils.
Frequent consumption of saturated fats can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. High amounts of saturated fat can contribute to several diseases.
Types of saturated fatty acids:
– volatile saturated fatty acids
– short-chain saturated fatty acids
– Medium-chain saturated fatty acids
– Long-chain saturated fatty acids
– Monounsaturated fatty acids
Monounsaturated fatty acids
Monounsaturated fatty acids can help raise good HDL cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids
(Essential fatty acids)
Some polyunsaturated fats cannot be produced by the body and must therefore be obtained from the diet.
The ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids should be 1:5.
These so-called essential fatty acids can be divided into 2 groups:
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
The essential medium-chain ALA is found mainly in green leafy vegetables, flaxseed, wheat germ and walnuts. The main sources of ALA in our diet are edible oils. The need for ALA can be significantly higher during heavy physical exertion.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) / Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
EPA and DHA are mainly found in fatty fish, such as:
Mackerel, trout, herring, salmon, sardines and tuna.
Fish oils are therefore often used as a collective term for the strong long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Fish oils are mainly used as food supplements. They are distilled in the rain to filter out any contaminants that may be present.
Omega 6 fatty acids
Linoleic acid is an essential omega 6 fatty acid that humans cannot produce themselves. Linoleic acid is found in many edible oils. It is found in larger quantities in oils from safflower, sunflower, soya, maize germ and wheat germ.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLS)
CLS is a non-essential form of linoleic acid, with a slightly different molecular structure in the double bonds. CLS is found in animal fats from ruminants and is mainly found in milk fat. It is therefore predominantly found in butter and (non-fat-reduced) dairy products.
Gamma-linoleic acid (GLS)
This omega-3 fatty acid is not essential. It is normally formed in the body from linoleic acid. Gamma-linoleic acid (GLS) can also be taken in with food, especially from the seed oil of black and red currants.
Die Arachidonic acid is conditionally essential. It is formed in the body from other polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially linoleic acid. It is also found in some foods such as beef, liver and kidneys, as well as in shrimp and some fish.
Trans fatty acids
Trans fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acids that occur naturally only in the fat and milk of ruminants. Trans fatty acids are similar to unsaturated fatty acids in their molecular structure, but have a different structure.
fatty acids, but have a different spatial structure. Due to the double bonds of the unsaturated fatty acids, the fatty acid can take on different spatial forms.
Trans fatty acids in food
Trans fatty acids in our food mostly come from hardened fats. Hydrogenated vegetable fats are found, for example, in margarine, frying and baking fat, nut-nougat creams. Trans fatty acids are also formed when liquid oils are heated above the smoke point. This often happens during deep-frying or repeated heating.
Not all fats are the same. With fat, it’s all about the right mix. A single fatty acid should not be consumed in excess. It is recommended that saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids each cover one third of the fat requirement. Fish should be a frequent part of the diet.