T Nation

Another Fat Question

From my understanding, the EFA’s are essential because our bodys can’t make them from other fats.

So, if one were to eat enough of Omega 3,6&9 fats, shouldn’t our body be able to make the other poly-unsaturated, mono-unsaturated and saturated fats needed from the EFA’s?

Instead of worrying about getting 1/3 or each type of fat, just get 70-100 grams of the EFAs and you don’t have to worry about getting the other fat in.

I’m not sure how true this is though, and if your body will make enough of the other fats with an excess of the EFAs.

Anyone know?

I don’t have a referanced answer for you, but my reasoning says no. Here’s why (I think):

  1. In all I have studied about fats, I have never seen an example of unsaturated fatty acids being converted to saturated fatty acids. It has always been the other way around. Out bodies can insert double bonds in fatty acide chains or add more carbons to the chain, but the number of double bonds never decreased from what I’ve seen.

  2. To make an unsaturated fatty acid saturated, hydrogenation must take place. The commercial process of hydrogenation occurs at 250 degrees Celcius for several hours. Our bodies don’t generate that sort of heat, and I don’t see how that heat wouldn’t be needed if our bodies conducted natural hydrogenation since its all chemistry anyway.

In addition, it’s really impossible not to ingest other poly-, mono-, and saturated fatty acids if you eat normal foods.

[quote]SWR-1222D wrote:
From my understanding, the EFA’s are essential because our bodys can’t make them from other fats.

So, if one were to eat enough of Omega 3,6&9 fats, shouldn’t our body be able to make the other poly-unsaturated, mono-unsaturated and saturated fats needed from the EFA’s?

Instead of worrying about getting 1/3 or each type of fat, just get 70-100 grams of the EFAs and you don’t have to worry about getting the other fat in.

I’m not sure how true this is though, and if your body will make enough of the other fats with an excess of the EFAs.

Anyone know?[/quote]

Maybe. Regardless, getting 70-100 grams of EFAs would be a pretty difficult, unenjoyable endeavor. And for what purpose? Getting out of adequate EFAs and regular polys, monos, and saturated fats from food is enough for good health and performance.

Hey guys,

I think we should be cautious not to confuse the purposes behind consuming fat. Energy (kcal) needs far exceed the need for EFAs. For example, Westerners consume just 10-15g linoleic acid per day… Canadians and Americans get in about 2g of linolenic acid per day, and we typically eat <1/2 g of EPA+DHA daily. “Nutraceutically” we are working to change around the ratios within this 15g or so when we choose healthier fats. Of course, one may wish to increase this “EFA ceiling” to 20g or more but let’s not get picky. For example, we may replace 5g of over-consumed omega-6 linoleic acid with 2g EPA+DHA and 3g linolenic acid. This can be done easily with fish oil supplements and a couple Tbsp. of ground flax.

You can see here that about 15-20g (or 135-180 kcal) of select fatty acids daily doesn’t come close to providing the often recommended 30-35% of overall dietary kcal from fat. The total amounts to more like the 70-100g total fat mentioned.

The difference between purposefully-sought/ uncommon fatty acids and overall kcal needs from fat can be made up largely with olive oil (e.g. oleic acid, omega-9) and by eating leaner meats in general for their saturated fat content. (We do this for the protein anyway.) I won’t bring up trans fat because it should be minimized.

I like the concept of more-or-less automatic ingestion of various needed fats just by focusing on dietary variety first. (Careful supplemental intake is then added.) Whole food sources of fatty acids (among other nutrients) tend to prevent us from overdoing any one fatty acid - which could be bad in a genetic/ pharmaceutical way. Variety is the single best dietary principle, IMO.