Search Food Dictionary
Food Dictionary Ads

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated Fats
open this page in your Mobile / Tablet
QR Code
Food Dictionary Ads
Polyunsaturated fats are triglycerides in which the hydrocarbon tails constitutes polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) (fatty acids possessing more than a single carbon–carbon double bond). Polyunsaturated fat can be found mostly in nuts, seeds, fish, algae, leafy greens, and krill. "Unsaturated" refers to the fact that the molecules contain less than the maximum amount of hydrogen. These materials exist as cis or trans isomers depending on the geometry of the double bond.

Saturated fats have hydrocarbon chains which can be most readily aligned. The hydrocarbon chains in trans fats align more readily than those in cis fats, but less well than those in saturated fats. This means that, in general, the melting points of fats increase from cis to trans unsaturated and then to saturated. See the section on chemical structure of fats for more information.

The position of the carbon-carbon double bonds in carboxylic acid chains in fats is designated by Greek letters. The carbon atom closest to the carboxyl group is the alpha carbon, the next carbon is the beta carbon and so on. In fatty acids the carbon atom of the methyl group at the end of the hydrocarbon chain is called the omega carbon because omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Omega-3 fatty acids have a double bond three carbons away from the methyl carbon, whereas omega-6 fatty acids have a double bond six carbons away from the methyl carbon. The illustration below shows the omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid.

While the nutritional aspects of polyunsaturated fats are of highest concern, these materials do have non-food applications. Drying oils, which polymerize on exposure to oxygen to form solid films, are polyunsaturated fats. The most common ones are linseed (flax seed) oil, tung oil, poppy seed oil, perilla oil, and walnut oil.  Sunflower-seed, corn, sesame, soy and safflower oil contain high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids are fatty acids that contain more than one double bond chain of carbon atoms. Fatty acids supply energy for the muscles, heart and other organs. They also aid in the formation of cell membranes, and supply energy for the storage of fat. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are "good" fatty acids that have many health benefits when used to replace saturated fatty acids.

Read More at Wikipedia
Post your comment ...
sign in with ...