Hey guys! This is midterm week…yay. And since I don’t have much time to study for Human Nutrition (thanks for that Bio), I figured I’d double my efforts and multitask-a blog post that I’m being tested on! So-today, we’ll talk about the difference in types of fat!

First, let’s go through a quick day of food. 

This morning I woke up to run. After yesterday’s bout into the world of sugar, I felt really gross and full-and I didn’t sleep well at all. I considered skipping the run all together.

I fueled up with some energy balls (I think this is going to be my pre-race breakfast).


The run was…surprisingly amazing. I expected to feel awful, but I felt great! Lesson-a week of hard work is not undone in a day. I even started thinking about my goal paces for my upcoming halfs-in the (long distant) future, I could imagine doing a sub 2. My 4 mile run was a tempo run, so a middle mile was at my 5k goal pace. 

The best part? My feet. Maybe there is something to the hope that this whole cutting out processed food business will magically cure my foot pain. I didn’t really feel the numbness at all, and my tendonitis is getting better (but I have been doing rehab exercises for this). So things are looking up on that front! Really quickly, I’m going to go through food, and then get on to fats!


Plain yogurt with fruit compote.


Chicken with steamed spinach and leftover lentil mix.


A hot apple with cinnamon and sunflower seed butter, plus a hard boiled egg.


A surprisingly good persimmon from the campus market.


Same old, same old. But for some reason the freezer made it thinner…and I am out of paper bowls so real bowl for me! 


I still needed something so brown rice with butter.



And homemade applesauce! My roommate brought a slow cooker, and this is the first time we used it! We just chopped up a bunch of random apples and threw them in…needless to say our room smells amazing! And applesauce is good with creme fraiche…just saying.

NOW. On to fats!

There’s been a lot of confusion lately, and a lot of labeling “good” and “bad” fats.


There are 3 types of fatty acids:

-Saturated-no double bonds

-Monounsaturated-one double bond

-Polyunsatured-more than one double bond

Which gives them this general structure:


(Totally stolen from my lecture notes.)

The double bonds cause bending, so the fats can’t stack as closely, hence the liquid texture at room temperature.

Fats in our bodies are mostly found as triglycerides-a 3 carbon backbone that holds 3 fatty acids together.

In general-animal fats are mostly saturated, plant fats are mostly unsaturated, and fats in fish have the longest carbon chains, and are the most unsaturated. Tropical plants (coconut and palm) have saturated fats.


Fats in the foods we eat are mixtures of these different types, but there is usually a dominant type. (Coconut oil is mostly saturated, but it has some monounsaturated.)

But it’s not as simple at just called saturated fats “bad” and unsaturated fats “good.” It’s a bit more complex.

Animal fats, such as geek or butter, have 16-18 carbons in their chains.

Coconut saturated fat only have 12-14 carbons in its chain.


This is why coconut oil does not react in our bodies in the same way that something like butter would.

Almonds, avocado, and olive oil are examples of monounsaturated fats (remember-one double bond).


Omega-6 polyunsaturated acids have 2 double bonds and 18 carbons, and are common in walnuts and sunflower oil.


Omega-3 fatty acids in flax are different from those in fish-flax have 3 double bonds and 18 carbons

Fish have 5-6 double bonds, and 20-22 carbons.


Hopefully that little tutorial was helpful! Let me know if there are any further questions!

What’s you favorite source of fat?

7 comments on “The Chemistry of Fats

  1. Miranda @ Lovely Wife Lovely Life

    Haha, I love your way of multitasking! 😉 My basic human nutrition class has all online, open note tests so I’m extremely unmotivated to study for it at all, ever. Ha!

    1. Aurora

      Haha it happens!

  2. smilemilegirl

    Very interesting. I didn’t realize how the saturated fats in non animal products and animal products differed. Thanks for sharing (:

    1. Aurora

      I’m glad it was helpful!

    1. Aurora

      The texture is amazing!

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