A lipid is a group of naturally occurring molecules. That group includes fats, waxes, steroids, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) phospholipids, etc. They are broadly defined as hydrophobic or amphiphilic small molecules. The amphiphilic molecules form structures such as vesicles, liposomes, and membranes in an aqueous environment.They are insoluble in water, yet soluble in alcohol. (Human Biology)
Lipids contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen but they have far less oxygen than carbohydrates. They have high melting points. (Human Biology) The saturated acids have a higher melting point than unsaturated acids. Lipids can be extracted from plants and animals using solvents such as ether, chloroform and acetone. (Chemistry: Principals and Properties)
Lipids store energy in fat and act as structural components of cell membranes. They are an essential nutrient in the human body. Triglycerides (fats and oils) give the body the energy it needs to operate. They serve as components of hormones and vitamins.
They are applied in cosmetic and food industries as well as the field of nanotechnology. In healthcare, doctors and physicians use lipid tests and profiles to measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in a person’s blood.
Fat plays an important role in your body, but too much of it can be very unhealthy. Lipids create a fat storage system that releases energy when the body needs it. Fat also insulates the body and keeps it warm. The human body has to stay a certain temperature and fat helps maintain that temperature. (A Life Science Lexicon) Fats also serve as protection to the organs inside of your body. The insulation of fat around your internal organs protects them from any potential injury or damage. When injuries do happen, the intensity of the damage is reduced by the layer of insulation.
Although fats are good insulators, they can be highly dangerous if used the wrong way. There are two types of fats, saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fats tend to be healthier for your system. Certain unsaturated fats are essential to the digestive system. If a person doesn’t get enough of these unsaturated fats, they can see problems such as skin problems or a delay of growth. These types of lipids are typically seen in foods such as canola oil, fatty fish, and soybean oil. (Diet for a Small Planet)
Saturated fats, however, can put your body at a risk of bad cholesterol, heart problems, and many other harmful health risks. They usually come from foods from animals, such as meat, milk, and butter. Those foods tend to have a high concentration of saturated fats.
There is a fat type that is worse than saturated fats. They are trans-fats. These types of lipids can actually hurt the function of the membrane receptors that help the body clean out cholesterol from the blood. These kinds of fats occur when unsaturated oils are hydrogenated. (Diet for a Small Planet)
3. The difference between fats and lipids
“Although all fats are...