Unsaturated fatty acid
noun, plural: unsaturated fatty acids
A fatty acid is a long chain of hydrocarbon with a carboxylic acid at the beginning (alpha) and a methyl end (omega). If there is at least one double carbon-carbon bond that fatty acid is classified as an unsaturated. In contrast, a long chain of hydrocarbon linked together by a single bond is a saturated type of fatty acid.
Unsaturated fatty acids are those containing one or more double bonds indicating that they can absorb additional hydrogen atoms. Unsaturated fatty acids may occur in cis or trans configuration. They may also be categorized into monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Examples of unsaturated fats are myristoleic acid, palmitoleic acid, sapienic acid, oleic acid, elaidic acid, vaccenic acid, linoleic acid, linoelaidic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid, erucic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid.
In humans, the recommended consumption is not more than 30% of the total calories per day. Some of the dietary sources of unsaturated fats are fish oils, walnuts, flax, avocado, and olive oil. The unsaturated fats increase high-density lipoproteins (HDL) while decreasing low-density lipoproteins (LDL).