- MOST RECENT
The term lipids encompass several types of fats which range from simple fats to complex cholesterol. In foods lipids is the term used for both oils and fats. The one thing common in all these fats is that they are insoluble in water. There are so many classes of fats it can become complicated.
Some fats are found in food, some are found in the body and some in both.
Here are some common terms used in regards to fats.
Lipid is the scientific term that represents all fats, cholesterol, and other fat containing substances like lipoproteins. The stuff which comes under the category of lipids is not soluble in water.
Fatty acids are the basic units of fat molecules made up of elements carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Fats are mixtures of about sixteen different fatty acids. Each fatty acid has its own different effect on our body.
These are substances which have lipids like cholesterol at the core and coated with protein. The protein coating makes it possible for the lipid to be transported in the bloodstream.
Cholesterol is the waxy substance found in foods of animal origin. It is not found in foods from plant sources.
Blood or serum cholesterol
Our body synthesizes most of the cholesterol that is found in the blood but some of it is also absorbed from foods we eat.
Cholesterol is found only in food from animal sources. Plant fats do not contain any cholesterol.
Scientific term for body fat is adipose tissue.
High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is also known as good cholesterol. HDL absorbs cholesterol from body cells and carries it back to the liver where the cholesterol is broken down and excreted. HDLs have a higher ratio of protein to cholesterol and are made in the liver in response to physical activity and some foods. Food does not have them. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol can lower risk for heart disease and stroke.
Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is also known as bad cholesterol. Cholesterol is carried by LDL in blood to circulate to body cells where they may be used. LDL cholesterol may form deposits on blood vessel walls. LDL cholesterol has a higher ratio of cholesterol to protein and are synthesized in the liver. They are not found in food and are found only in the body.
The deposits or build-up of LDL cholesterol is called “plaque.” The insides of the blood vessels become narrow over time as the plaque build-up increases. The block makes the blood vessels narrow and blood flow to and from heart decreases.
Triglyceride molecule consists of one glycerol and three fatty acids and they behave like saturated fat. Triglycerides trigger the liver to make more cholesterol and levels of total and LDL cholesterol rise. Triglycerides are found in both food and body. Triglycerides are found circulating in blood and fat is stored in the body in the form of triglycerides.
Blood (serum) cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglyceride level should be checked regularly and the results will give an indication about our heart health. The ratio of HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol is also calculated from these test results. The higher the HDL cholesterol the better.