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Types of fats in food
See also
For discussion how dietary fats affect cardiovascular health, see Diet and heart disease.

In biochemistry and nutrition, monounsaturated fats or MUFA (MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acid) are fatty acids that have a single double bond in the fatty acid chain and all of the remainder of the carbon atoms in the chain are single-bonded. By contrast, polyunsaturated fatty acids have more than one double bond.

Fatty acids are long-chained molecules having a methyl group at one end and a carboxylic acid group at the other end. Fatty acid viscosity (thickness) and melting temperature increases with decreasing number of double bonds. Therefore, monounsaturated fatty acids have a higher melting point than polyunsaturated fatty acids (more double bonds) and a lower melting point than saturated fatty acids (no double bonds). Monounsaturated fatty acids are liquids at room temperature and semisolid or solid when refrigerated.

Contents

Molecular description: oleic acid

Common monounsaturated fatty acids are palmitoleic acid (16:1 n−7), cis-vaccenic acid (18:1 n−7) and oleic acid (18:1 n−9). Palmitoleic acid has 16 carbon atoms with the first double bond occurring 7 carbon atoms away from the methyl group (and 9 carbons from the carboxyl end). It can be lengthened to the 18-carbon cis-vaccenic acid. Oleic acid has 18 carbon atoms with the first double bond occurring 9 carbon atoms away from the carboxylic acid group. The illustrations below show a molecule of oleic acid in Lewis formula and as a space-filling model.

Oleic acid's skeletal formula Oleic acid's space-filling structure

Relation to health

In general, monounsaturated fats are considered to be relatively healthy, notwithstanding the explained evidence of a link to breast cancer.[citation needed]

Although polyunsaturated fats protect against cardiovascular disease by providing more membrane fluidity than monounsaturated fats, they are more vulnerable to lipid peroxidation (rancidity). On the other hand, some monounsaturated fatty acids (in the same way as saturated fats) promote insulin resistance, whereas polyunsaturated fatty acids are protective against insulin resistance [1] [2]. In direct contrast to this, the large scale KANWU study found that neither dietary monounsaturated or supplemented polyunsaturated fats (in the form of fish oil) affected insulin sensitivity while increased consumption of saturated fat significantly decreased insulin sensitivity. [3]

Foods containing monounsaturated fats lower Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, while possibly raising High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. [4] However, their true ability to raise HDL is still in debate.

Oleic and monounsaturated fatty acids [omega-9...] levels in red blood cell membranes were positively associated with breast cancer risk. The SI [saturation index...] of the same membranes was inversely associated with breast cancer risk [declining with saturation increase]. [...] monounsaturated fats and SI in erythrocyte membranes are predictors of postmenopausal breast cancer. Both of these variables depend on the activity of the enzyme 9-d [delta 9 desaturase]. [5]

In children, consumption of monounsaturated oils is associated with healthier serum lipid profiles.[6]

Natural sources

Monounsaturated fats are found in natural foods such as nuts and avocados, and are the main component of tea seed oil and olive oil (oleic acid). Canola oil is 57%–60% monounsaturated fat, olive oil is about 75% monounsaturated fat while tea seed oil is commonly over 80% monounsaturated fat. Other sources include macadamia nut oil, grapeseed oil, groundnut oil (peanut oil), sesame oil, corn oil, popcorn, whole grain wheat, cereal, oatmeal, safflower oil, sunflower oil, tea-oil Camellia, avocado oil.

See also

References

  1. ^ Lovejoy, JC (2002). "The influence of dietary fat on insulin resistance". Current Diabetes Reports 2 (5): 435–40. doi:10.1007/s11892-002-0098-y. PMID 12643169. 
  2. ^ Satoshi Fukuchi (06/01/2004). "Role of Fatty Acid Composition in the Development of Metabolic Disorders in Sucrose-Induced Obese Rats". Experimental Biology and Medicine 229 (6): 486–93. PMID 15169967. http://www.ebmonline.org/cgi/content/full/229/6/486. 
  3. ^ Vessby B, Unsitupa M, Hermansen K, Riccardi G, Rivellese AA, Tapsell LC, Nälsén C, Berglund L, Louheranta A, Rasmussen BM, Calvert GD, Maffetone A, Pedersen E, Gustafsson IB, Storlien LH (2001). "Substituting dietary saturated for monounsaturated fat impairs insulin sensitivity in healthy men and women: The KANWU Study". Diabetologia 44 (3): 312–9. doi:10.1007/s001250051620. PMID 11317662. http://link.springer-ny.com/link/service/journals/00125/bibs/1044003/10440312.htm. 
  4. ^ "You Can Control Your Cholesterol: A Guide to Low-Cholesterol Living". Merck & Co. Inc.. http://www.mercksource.com/pp/us/cns/cns_krames_template.jspzQzpgzEzzSzppdocszSzuszSzcnszSzcontentzSzkrameszSz1292_01zPzhtm. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  5. ^ Valeria Pala, Vittorio Krogh, Paola Muti, Véronique Chajès, Elio Riboli, Andrea Micheli, Mitra Saadatian, Sabina Sieri, Franco Berrino (July 18, 2001). "Erythrocyte Membrane Fatty Acids and Subsequent Breast Cancer: a Prospective Italian Study". JNCL 93 (14): 1088. doi:10.1093/jnci/93.14.1088. PMID 11459870. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/93/14/1088. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  6. ^ Sanchez-Bayle M, Gonzalez-Requejo A, Pelaez MJ, Morales MT, Asensio-Anton J, Anton-Pacheco E (2008). "A cross-sectional study of dietary habits and lipid profiles. The Rivas-Vaciamadrid study". Eur. J. Pediatr. 167 (2): 149–54. doi:10.1007/s00431-007-0439-6. PMID 17333272. 
  7. ^ a b c .nutritiondata.com --> Egg, yolk, raw, fresh Retrieved on August 24, 2009
  8. ^ Feinberg School > Nutrition > Nutrition Fact Sheet: Lipids Northwestern University. Retrieved on August 24, 2009

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