Second Session Study Guide 4

Second Session Study Guide

Lesson Four

(Good Fats)

 

There are two essential fatty acids: omega -6 and omega-3. They are called essential because we must get them in our foods.

 

A fatty acid is a long chain of carbon atoms that are linked together. Each carbon has four arms to make connections. Two arms connect to other carbon atoms to make a chain and the other two arms connect to hydrogen atoms. If the chain is full of hydrogen it is called a saturated fat because the carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen. If there are places where the hydrogen atoms are missing the fat is called unsaturated. That’s pretty simple, isn’t it?

 

Omega means “the end” (like alpha and omega). We can count the number of carbon atoms from the omega end until we find one that is missing a hydrogen atom. If the first missing hydrogen atom is on the 3rd carbon atom, the fat is called “omega-3”; if it is on the 6th atom the fat is called “omega-6”. If only one place has this “missing atom” it is a mono-unsaturated fat; if there are more it is poly-unsaturated.

 

Omega-6 fatty acids are abundant in the food supply but omega-3s are not. Omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease, they reduce blood clotting, they lower triglycerides, they lower blood pressure and they reduce inflammation. That sounds great! So how do we get these great fats?

 

Lesson Four Q and A:

 

  1. What are the two essential fatty acids?
  2. What does “omega” mean?
  3. How are the fats named?
  4. What are the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids?

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