Chemistry of Dietary FAT


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It was very interesting as well as challenging to gather information on Chemistry of FAT.


  • Fatty acids found in animal triglycerides are saturated ones
  • Fatty acids found in plant triglycerides are unsaturated ones ( exception - tropical oils)
  • Fatty Acid - Saturated and Unsatureated ...(2)
    • When a fatty acid is with single bond between its carbon atoms.
      It has maximum number of hydrogen atoms and
      thus forms a saturated triglyceride when attached to glycerol. e.g.palmitic acid
    • When a fatty acid is with one or more than one double bond and fewer hydrogen atoms attached to carbon chain. This is an example of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acid, respectively. When it attaches to Glycerol it forms unsaturated triglyceride. e.g. linolenic acid with 3 double bonds and fewer hydrogen atoms attached to carbon chain
    • The double bonds between carbon atoms, in an unsaturated fat keeps the fat in a liquid form at room temperature. E.g. oils Where as saturated fats stays solid at room temperature e.g. butter, animal fat
    ...(3)
    The other kinds of lipid are:

  • Phospholipids: They are similar to fat. The difference is another group, Phosphate (PO4), replaces one of the fatty acid side chain.
  • Waxes: They provide a waterproof coat on the skin of leaves, fruits and on the outer coating of insects. They are large lipid molecules
  • Steroids: These are fat soluble compounds. E.g. harmones like estrogen and cholesterol. ( Cholesterol has an important role in cell membrane. It helps maintaining fluidity.)
  • Terpenes: These are related to steroids but slightly smaller molecules. These include Vitamins A,E and K.

Image source:
...(1)...http://nutrition.jbpub.com/chemistryreview10.cfm
...(2)...http://biology.clc.uc.edu/graphics/bio104/fatty%20acid.jpg
...(3)...http://nutrition.jbpub.com/chemistryreview10.cfm

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