Dietary fats include all fats and oils that are edible; they may be produced from plants or animals. Dietary fats consist mainly of triglycerides, which can be split into glycerol and chains of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen called fatty acids. Fatty acids constitute the main components of these lipids and are required as a source of energy, and for metabolism and structure.

The major sources of the essential unsaturated fatty acids of the n-3 and n-6 series are fish and vegetable oils respectively.


Related Publications

Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition Report of an expert consultation, FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 91, FAO, Rome, 2010. (Final report)

Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation (Guest editors Burlingame, B., C. Nishida, R. Uauy, R. Weisell), Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, 55 (1-3), 1-308, 2009. (Background papers) Special Issue of the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, with free on-line access

A Model for Establishing Upper Levels of Intake for Nutrients and Related Substances: Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Technical Workshop on Nutrient Risk Assessment, 2-6 May 2005

last updated:  Wednesday, February 20, 2013