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Essential Fatty Acids

Fats consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and belong to the group of molecules called lipids. Generally dietary fat is essential for the body to function properly. Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K are all fat soluble vitamins, which means fat is required for their digestion, absorption and transportation. Essential fatty acids are not made by the body and must be obtained from ingested fat for example alpha linoleic acid also known as omega-3 fatty acid. Fatty acids help with body functions such as blood pressure control, blood clotting and inflammation.

Sources of essential fatty acids

We have sorted our nutrition database by omega-3 content (more correctly alpha linolenic acid - the principal omega-3 fatty acid) so you can easily see how much fat is contained in different foods. You can also search through our database using the search box below or browse the fat content by food category.

omega-3 in foods - by food category

Baby Food      Baked Products
Beef Products    Breakfast Cereals
Cereal Grains and Pasta    Dairy Products
Drinks    Ethnic Foods
Fast Foods    Fats and Oils
Fish    Fruits
Lamb, Veal, and Game Products    Legumes and Legume Products
Meals, Entrees, and Sidedishes    Nuts
Pork    Poultry Products
Sausages and Luncheon Meats    Snacks
Soups    Spices and Herbs
Sweets    Vegetables
Cakes    Fruit Juices
Soy Products      Sauces
Shellfish      Candy
Spreads      Soda
Dried Fruits      Soups
Cookies      Biscuits


Fats are broken down in the body to give glycerol and fatty acids. Glycerol can be converted into glucose in the liver and used as a source of energy. The fatty acids are also a good source of energy. Fat provides 9 kCal of energy per gram which is more than double the energy provided by carbohydrate or protein (4 kCal).

Fats are grouped into the following types saturated fats, unsaturated fats, mono-unsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, trans fatty acids, hydrogenated fats, partially hydrogenated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids.

What really matters is the type of fat in the diet. Bad fats, ie saturated and trans fats, increase the risk for certain diseases while good fats, meaning monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lower the risk. For a healthy diet replace saturated and trans fats (the bad fats) with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Although cholesterol is in food the average person makes about 75% of cholesterol in the liver and about 25% is absorbed through food. The fats in your diet have the largest influence on blood cholesterol levels. Although it is still important to limit the amount of cholesterol you eat.

Excess Fat

Excess saturated fat can cause cholesterol to build up within the arteries. Excess fat in the diet because of the high calorie content, can increase your chances of obesity, which increases the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.

Related Fat Pages

Tips to lower fat intake 101 low fat tips.

Nutrition Facts

calories, fat, carbohydrate, high protein foods, high fiber foods, low carb foods, calcium, iron, magnesium, chromium, phosphorus, chloride, potassium, sodium, fluoride, iodine, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamins and minerals, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, biotin (vitamin B7), Folic Acid (vitamin B9), vitamin B12, vitamin B13, vitamin B15, vitamin B17, vitamin K, folic acid, tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, valine, arginine, histidine, alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, cholesterol, essential fatty acids, trans fat, saturated fat, recommended daily allowance

 
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Disclaimer: The information provided by Diet & Fitness Today is for general information and should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. You should always consult a licensed physician or medical professional for diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and before starting any weight loss or fitness regime.