What are the building blocks of fats in anatomy?

Updated 21 March, 2023
The building blocks of fats in anatomy are known as fatty acids. These are long chains of carbon atoms with a carboxyl group (-COOH) at one end. Fatty acids come in different lengths and can be saturated or unsaturated, depending on whether the carbon chain is fully or partially saturated with hydrogen atoms. Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between carbon atoms and tend to be solid at room temperature, while unsaturated fatty acids have one or more double bonds and tend to be liquid at room temperature. Fats are formed when three fatty acid molecules combine with a molecule of glycerol through a process called esterification.
Detailed answer:

Fats, also known as lipids, are one of the essential macronutrients required by the human body. They serve as a major energy source, insulate the body, and cushion organs. Fats are composed of building blocks known as fatty acids and glycerol.

According to the book "Human Anatomy & Physiology" by Elaine N. Marieb and Katja Hoehn, "Fatty acids are long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached." These chains may be saturated or unsaturated, depending on the presence or absence of double bonds between carbon atoms. Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds, while unsaturated fatty acids have one or more double bonds. The type of fatty acid present in a particular fat influences its properties and how it affects the body.

Glycerol, on the other hand, is a three-carbon alcohol that is a component of triglycerides, the most common type of fat found in the body. Three fatty acids are attached to each glycerol molecule via a dehydration synthesis reaction, forming a triglyceride molecule. The book "Anatomy & Physiology" by Gail W. Jenkins and Gerard J. Tortora explains that "triglycerides are important energy storage molecules, and they also serve as insulators and shock absorbers."

It is worth noting that while fats are an essential part of a healthy diet, consuming too much of them can lead to health problems such as obesity and heart disease. Therefore, it is important to maintain a balanced diet and consume fats in moderation.

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