What is Fat?
Understanding of what is fat
What is fat? Fat is a particular water insoluble substance from plant and animal source. Fat is solid at room temperature and becomes liquefied at heating. What is fat chemically? Fat is composed of glyceride esters formed by 3 molecules of fatty acids and 1 molecule of glycerol. Fats and oils are important components of foods. All living cells contain fatty compounds. Fat is natural energy store and contains 2 times more energy than carbohydrate or protein. Dietary fat has natural origin and is gained from plants and animals. Large amounts of fat are found in avocados and olives.
What is fat application in practice?
People have used natural fats from time immemorial as food and for other purposes. For example, in the 19th century the French chemist Hippolyte Mege-Mouries produced margarine from plant oil used as a good butter alternative. Nowadays, numerous chemical reactions with fats and fatty acids are used in the quickly developing industry of fatty compounds.
What is fat metabolism?
Fats appear in plant seeds and fruits at the final stages of ripening. Sugars and starches in fruits and seeds are transformed by enzyme reactions into fatty acids and glycerol with subsequent glyceride formation.
Fats in the human and animal tissues have dietary origin or are formed due to enzymatic synthesis. In the digestive tracts, the food fats undergo emulsification and digestion with the enzyme called lipase that decomposes the glycerides. The glycerol and fatty acids are afterward absorbed through the intestine. The fatty droplets are subsequently transported by the bloodstream to areas of fat usage or storage.
What is fat from the standpoint of biochemistry and physiology?
Fats play numerous physiological roles in the living cells:
- Fat is efficient reserve of energy.
- Subcutaneous fat insulate against cold due to low rate of heat transmission.
- Fat contains the essential fatty acids such as linoleic, arachidonic, and linolenic acids. Essential fatty acids must be obtained from diet because the body is unable to synthesize them. Deficiency of essential fatty acids is manifested by skin affection, scales appearance, hair problems, and reduced growth.
- Hormonal substances known as the prostaglandins are derivatives of arachidonic acid. Very small amounts of these active compounds take part in muscle contraction, lipid metabolism, nervous function, regulation of heart rate, blood pressure control, steroid activity, and nervous function.
- Fats also include small amounts of phospholipids, sterols, vitamins, and carotenoids. These substances are important emulsifiers and growth factors. They also prevent fat destruction in plant seeds. Fats are dietary carriers of these substances.