Fats : A Chemical Breakdown

Types of Fats (Continued)

In addition to triglycerides, Fats also contain phospholipids and sterols.

But before we get into a Phospholipid, we should learn what a lipid is.

            Lipids in general, are fat-like molecules. They’re organic, meaning they contain carbon atoms and do not dissolve in water. They are a major building block of the cells of animals and all have one thing in common – they do not mix with water. You can see this quite well if you try to combine oil and water. No matter what, they remain separated. This can be useful for example, ducks produce lipids in their feathers, allowing the water to roll right off their backs, keeping them afloat.


            Phospholipid molecules consist of a hydrophilic (or ‘water loving’) head and a hydrophobic (or ‘water fearing’) tail. Phospholipids arrange themselves into two parallel layers; something called a phospholipid bilayer. This layer is critical in forming the functionality of cell membranes. It can be found in nature in the yolk of an egg.

Sterols are also lipids and are naturally occurring in many different animals and therefor our foods. Sterols also play a key role in the cellular structure for animals, including us.

            Cholesterol is boken into two kinds, even if they aren’t very different from one another. Dietary and Blood.

  • Dietary Cholesterol refers to the food consumed. It is only found in animal goods, not plants. The dietary goal is to limit intake to <300 milligrams each day.
  • Blood Cholesterol can be made by the body and yet some of it is still absorbed from the foods that we eat. The goal is to have a total blood cholesterol level of <200 milligrams per dL.


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