Fat Lessons

creamToday I’m going to start a little series.  I don’t know how many posts it will be.  As many as it takes.  And I’m going to keep them short.  They’ll be mini-bite lessons on fats.  (Oils are fats too.)  The kinds of fats you eat can make or break you.  Because sorting out fat terminology drove me crazy, I’ll start there.  Everybody throws these terms around:  saturated, unsaturated, MUFAs, PUFAs, omega-3s, omega-6s, linolenic acid, linoleic acid, MCT, and SCFA.  If my eyes glaze over reading posts and comment threads about fats, I’ll bet many of you out there have the same problem.  Let’s remedy that in little bits.

First off, fats are made of fatty acids, three of them in fact, bonded to a backbone called a glycerol.  Thus you get “TRIGLYCERIDES.”  Fats.

Mostly what health writers are talking about when they talk about “fats,” is the kind of fatty acids that make up the package called the triglyceride.  What kind of fatty acids are involved.  Fatty acids can be saturated.  Or unsaturated.  Or MUFAs.  Or PUFAs, omega-3s.  And so on.

THERE ARE TWO MAIN WAYS TO CATEGORIZE FATS, BY HOW SATURATED THEIR FATTY ACIDS ARE OR HOW LONG THEIR FATTY ACIDS ARE.  This is why it gets so confusing to read health articles on fats.  That and the fact that foods, oils, and fats are made up of many types of those terms I listed up there.  For example, olive oil is a mixture of several different types of fat.  So it gets confusing.

Today we’ll outline the saturation/unsaturation terms.  Later we’ll outline them (rather easily) by length.

Here is the outline for your head.  Don’t think about foods for now.  Foods, natural fats, and natural oils are a mix of all these terms you and I have spinning around our heads.  Today, just think of terminology.  Later we’ll apply it to food.


     I.  Saturated fats:  All carbons are full-up.  No double bonds.  Not much room for chemical reactions to take place.  Stable.  Solid.

     II.  Unsaturated fats:  Some carbons are double bonded, leaving room for chemical reactions to take place.  Liquid.

          1.  Monounsaturated fats  (MUFAs):  Only one double bond so less reactive than PUFAs.  More stable.

          2.  Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs):  More than one double bond.  This makes them more reactive and less stable than saturated fats and MUFAs.

               a.  Omega-3

               b.  Omega-6

               c.  Omega-9

That’s it.

What do I want you to notice?  I want you to notice that omega-3s are PUFAs.   I want you to notice that saturated fats are the most chemically stable.  Then monounsaturated fats (MUFAs).  Then polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs).

That wasn’t too taxing, was it?  Do your eyes glaze over when you read those fat articles?  Do you wish somebody would figure out fats and stick to their story?  Do you worry about fat?  Do you try to stay low-fat or avoid certain fats?  I’d love to know.  And know why.

Have a good weekend.  It’s Labor Day weekend here, and we have company coming for a real good time!  My children are a little worried, “Mom, I don’t think they’re going to like our food…”  My poor kids.  Traumatized.


4 thoughts on “Fat Lessons

  1. Jack

    Hello Terri, I had a quad bypass in Feb 2016. Since I didn’t want to clog up my shiny new arteries, I decided to follow the Dr. Dean Ornish diet. He cuts all oils. I’ve been an oil free vegan since July 2016. I sauté my veggies in white wine! I found your blog while reading the Potato Hack.
    Regards, Jack (68 years)

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thanks, Jack. I’ve read a little about Ornish, although it seems to have come more from people talking ABOUT Ornish. LOL! Ha! I suppose a better way for me to do it would be to read some Ornish. I’ll do that. Thanks.

      I could see living without added oils as a truly healthy way to live, as long as one’s diet contained plenty of whole, real foods rich in oils/fats. I do think we need them (oils and fats), but I’ve come to think that once we squeeze them out of food, it’s a downhill path.

      I hope you’re feeling and functioning great! I’m sure Dr. Ornish has made sure to hit the points that are a little lower in a vegan diet, but in case not, vitamin B12 is one I think about. And vitamin K2 would be one to read about, especially as you’ve had “clogged” arteries.

      Stop by here anytime. I’ve corresponded with Tim Steele (The Potato Hack) quite a bit regarding resistant starch, butyrate, fiber, and short chain fatty acids. All plant matter stuff!

      Good day!


    2. Dr Bailey

      Cutting out fat is going to calcify recorder calcify your arteries because you don’t have enough vitamin K

      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Clarification for people passing by to Dr. Bailey’s point:

        Plant-based should have plenty of K1, just not much K2. (Where fermented foods may help some with this lack of K2) It’s the K2 that helps make sure the calcium isn’t deposited in the arteries. I like to see people get sources of K2.

        If Dr. Bailey disagrees with my liberty of adding to his comment, I hope he’ll see it and pipe back in.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.