The Truth About "Fats" – Part 1

Written by Anil Bajnath, MD
Posted June 22, 2021

Dear Longevity Insider,

As we continue our Cell Membrane Series, we will be discussing the building blocks of the fat in our bodies: fatty acids. Fatty acids are necessary for cell growth and preservation, providing energy, and forming important components of cell membranes.

Fatty acids are the building blocks of the fat in our bodies and in the food we eat. 

Fatty acids are long-chain hydrocarbons that can be separated into the following categories:

  1. Saturated Fats
  2. Monounsaturated Fats
  3. Polyunsaturated Fats
  4. Trans Fats.

Saturated Fats. This is a type of fat in which the fatty acid chains have all or predominantly single bonds between carbon molecules. The chain of carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms in these fatty acids. This makes these fats solid at room temperature. Examples include: Butter, lard, cream, cheese. 

Trans Fats. Trans fat are a form of unsaturated fat. While it can be naturally found in some meat and dairy, there is also artificial trans fat. Artificial trans fat is created during hydrogenation, which converts liquid vegetable to make them solid at room temperature and more stable. Many studies have correlated trans fat to increased heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends reducing trans fat from your diet.

Monounsaturated Fats. Monounsaturated fats are simply fat molecules that have a single carbon-to-carbon double bond, meaning two fewer hydrogen atoms than saturated fat and a bend at the double bond. Oils that contain monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature. Examples include: olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, and sesame oil. 

Polyunsaturated Fats. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are fatty acids that contain two or more double bonds in their carbon chain. The two types of polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which refers to the distance between the beginning of the carbon chain and the first double bond. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods from plants like soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, and flaxseed. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. Omega-6 fats, when overconsumed, can be inflammatory to the body. So having a balanced ratio between both and avoiding overconsumption of omega-6 fatty acids is optimal. 

How do Fatty Acids work? 

During digestion, the body breaks down fat into fatty acids, this is so that it can then be absorbed into the blood. Fatty acid molecules are then connected together in groups of three, forming a molecule known as triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat that are the most common type of fat found in your body. They come from foods, such as butters and oils but and also from other fats you eat.

Here is some of my most fascinating research on medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

To your longevity,

Anil Bajnath MD
CEO/Founder, Institute for Human Optimization
Chief Medical Officer, Longevity Insider HQ