Fatty acids and triglycerides are important components for all of our body’s cells. Fats contain more energy per gram than proteins and carbohydrates. Fats are fuel!

All fats are composed of fatty acids, which are long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen attached to them. There are varying lengths to the chains, and those chains can be saturated or unsaturated.

Long-chain saturated fats

Medium-chain saturated fats

Monounsaturated fats

Omega-3 essential fatty acids

Omega-6 essential fatty acids

Omega-3 vs. Omega-6

The average consumption of omega-6 to omega-3 in the standard American diet is 20:1. We want to strive toward a 1:1 ratio by greatly reducing the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids.

The reason for the large discrepancy is:
Omega-6 is found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, but they are also found in abundance in processed and refined oils such as soybean, corn, and safflower oils. These oils can be found in our favorite foods: chips, crackers, salad dressings, and power bars.

So, our diets are heavy in Omega-6 and we don’t realize we are over-consuming them. It is necessary to consume them, but in the form of whole foods as opposed to processed foods.

Increasing your omega-3 intake while decreasing your omega-6 intake will level off this large discrepancy. The Institute of Medicine recommends an intake of 1.1 mg/day for both omega-6 and omega-3.