Lipids in Human Nutrition

From WikiLectures

Lipids are a heterogeneous group of compounds, including fats, oils, steroids, waxes, and related compounds. They are concentrated sources of energy as well as structural components of cell membranes. A certain amount of dietary fat is required for normal bodily functions.

Fatty Acids (FA) are described according to the number of double bonds present:

  • Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds, for example (palmitic and stearic acid)

Saturated fats have a significant hypercholesterolemic effect (increase blood cholesterol levels). They are found predominantly in animal products (butter, cheese and meat).

  • Unsaturated fatty acids may contain one or more double bond's e.g. Monosaturated fatty acids have one double bond (oleic acid). Polyunsaturated acids (linoleic, linolenic, arachidonic acids)

Essential fatty acids have to be provided by the diet, they play vital roles in cell membrane structure. They belong to N‐3 and N‐6 classes. Oil rich fish contain long chain N‐3 FA. They decrease the risk of coronary heart disease.


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  • BENCKO, Vladimir, et al. Hygiene and epidemiology : selected chapters. 2. edition. Prague. 2008. ISBN 80-246-0793-X.