Topic 5 Lipids

  • It is commonly believed that lipids are bad!
  • On the contrary, lipids are essential to creating cell membranes, storing energy, and signaling
  • Lipids comprise fatty acids, phospholipids, fat-soluble vitamins, and more!

Fatty Acids

  • Fatty acids are the building blocks of fats and can be combined with glycerol to form triglycerides, the most common lipid in our diet and body
  • Fats can be either saturated or unsaturated

Saturated Fatty Acids v Unsaturated Fatty Acids

  • Saturated fats are known as “bad fats.”
    • Solids at room temperature, resist oxidization, and do not turn rancid when exposed to air
    • Saturated fat is mostly found in animal-derived products, such as butter, whole milk, milk cream, and meat as well as in tropical oils like coconut and palm.
    • Excessive consumption of saturated fats can increase the “bad cholesterol” LDL, which can increase the risk of stroke or cardiovascular
  • Unsaturated fatty acids known as “good fat”
    • Liquid at room temperature
    • Found in plant-based products like sunflower oil, olive oil, nuts, avocadoes, and in small quantities in wholegrain products.

Unsaturated Fatty Acids: Sources and Effects

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA)

Eicosatetraenoic Acid (EPA)

Docosa hexaenoic Acid (DHA)

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Linolenic Acid

Omega-9 Fatty Acids

Development of the eye, skin, and brain

Used to Create EPA

Decreases inflammation

Important for pregnancy and lactation

Variety of body functions. Excess can cause inflammation

Anti-inflammatory, promotes hair and skin growth

Boosts Energy and Brain Function

Trans Fats

  • Trans fats are the worst type of fats
  • Trans fats are different due to a bond difference that makes them even more stable and solid
  • Trans fats can greatly increase blood cholesterol, increase inflammation, and elevate the risk of having heart disease
  • Trans fats have been heavily regulated, yet the main sources remain industrialized hydrolyzed vegetable oils and animal fat


  • Cholesterol is used to form cell membranes and steroid hormones, bile acid, and vitamin D
  • Cholesterol is found in high-fat animal products like liver, egg yolks, red meat, fish oil, and butter
  • Blood cholesterol level is actually related to amount of trans and saturated fats consumed rather than the amount of cholesterol consumed.