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Main dietary fatty acids

Health Promotion Knowledge Gateway

Dietary Fats

Main dietary fatty acids

Based on Present Knowledge in Nutrition 2012, EFSA 2010

Saturated fatty acids

Type/ Definition

Carbon atoms

Common name

Systematic name

SFA

'fatty acids with no double bonds' (EU 2011)

4 Butyric acid Butanoic acid
6 Caproic acid Hexanoic acid
8 Caprylic acid Octanoic acid
10 Capric/Caprinic acid Decanoic acid
12 Lauric acid Dodecanoic acid
14 Myristic acid Tetradecanoic acid
16 Palmitic acid Hexadecanoic acid
18 Stearic acid Octadecanoic acid
 

Monounsaturated fatty acids

Type/ Definition

Carbon atoms

Common name

Systematic name

MUFA

'fatty acids with one cis double bond' (EU 2011)

16 Palmitoleic acid Hexadecenoic acid
18 Oleic acid Octadecenoic acid
 

Polyunsaturated fatty acids

Type/ Definition

Carbon atoms

Common name

Systematic name

PUFA

'fatty acids with two or more cis, cis-methylene interrupted double bonds' (EU 2011)

18 Linoleic(LA) or omega-6 acid Octadecadienoic acid
18 α-linolenic (ALA) or  omega-3 acid (all-cis-9,12,15) Octadecatrienoic acid
18 γ-linolenica acid (all-cis-6,9,12) Octadecatrienoic acid
20 Arachidonica acid Eicosatetraenoic acid
20 Eicosapentaenoic (EPA)b acid
22 Docosapentanoic (DPA)b acid
22 Docosahexaenoic (DHA)b acid
 

trans-fatty acids

Carbon atoms

Common name

Systematic name

TFA

'fatty acids with at least one non-conjugated (namely interrupted by at least one methylene group) carbon-carbon double bond in the trans configuration' (EU 2011)

18 Elaidic acid (trans-9)Octadecenoic acid
18 Vaccenic acid (trans-11) Octadecenoic acid
18 Rumenic acid (Cis-9, trans-11) Octadecadienoic acid

 a omega-6,  b omega-3