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Difference Between Fat and Cholesterol

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What is Fat?

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Fats are compounds that help the body use certain vitamins to keep the skin healthy; they are also the primary reason the body absorbs energy. Fats are also called fatty acids or lipids. The fats in our body are up to three molecules. Most of the fat we need is made by our bodies, but there are some fats our bodies cannot make. Those fats which our bodies can’t produce need to be consumed. These fats are referred to as "essential" fats because we need to get it from our food. Omega-3 (found in fish and flax seeds) and Omega-6 (found on foods such as nuts, seeds, and maize oil are important fats). Fats are also present in essential fat.


Fat helps the body absorb vitamins A, D, and E. These vitamins can only be processed by fats, which means that they are fat-soluble. Any fat not used or converted to energy by the cells in the body becomes fat in the body. Unused carbohydrates, proteins are also converted into body fat.


There are three main types of fats in our food:

  1. Saturated fats

  2. Unsaturated fats

  3. Trans fat

Importance of Fat

Having enough fat in our food is very important for individuals to remain healthy and fit.

  • Fat helps to keep our skin healthy.

  • Fat adds flavour to the food.

  • Fat helps to absorb vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K.

What is Cholesterol?

The body produces cholesterol for the formation of cells and membrane around the cell. It is a waxy, liver-generated chemical compound present in cheese, eggs, butter (especially red fatty meat). Cholesterol is not fat per se. A lipoprotein molecular complex is used to transport this compound via the blood. The primary nutrient to be derived from the diet is not cholesterol. However they are an essential part of our cell membranes and naturally still exist in all our cells, so the human body already generates all the cholesterol it needs.


Excess cholesterol does not keep your heart healthy and it increases the chances of cardiovascular diseases. Cholesterol has several functions like, Cholesterol helps in the formation of sex hormone, it also helps in the production of bile salts that helps in digesting foods.


Causes of High Cholesterol

  • Lack of daily physical activities.

  • Obesity

  • Diet with high red meat content.

Types of Cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol - (High-density lipoprotein) HDL and (Low-density lipoprotein) LDL. Lipoproteins are made up of fats and proteins.

  1. (High-Density Lipoprotein) HDL: HDL is called "good cholesterol" because it brings cholesterol from your body to your liver. HDL will help you get rid of extra cholesterol so it’s very less likely to end up in your arteries.

  2. (Low-Density Lipoprotein) LDL: LDL is called “bad cholesterol”. A rise in the amount of cholesterol will lead to a plaque known as atherosclerosis in your arteries. The chance of blood clots in your arteries may be raised. You may have a stroke or heart attack if the blood clot breaks away and blocks an artery in the heart or brain. Blood supply and oxygen in the main organs may also be reduced by plaque accumulation. In addition to a heart attack or stroke, the lack of oxygen in your organ or arteries can lead to kidney disease or peripheral arterial disease.

Difference Between Fat and Cholesterol

Fats and cholesterol are two different types of lipids insoluble in the water, which are organic compounds. While they are often found in food and blood together they have very separate mechanisms and a few common functions. Fats provide nutrition and calories, but not cholesterol. The diet can produce fats and cholesterol, and synthesize them, especially in the liver. However, lipids are taken together in the intestines. Since blood is primarily water, the molecules called lipoproteins are transmitted by water-soluble carriers.


Fun Facts

  • One out of every three adults has high cholesterol.

  • High cholesterol could be genetic as well.

  • Bad cholesterol is caused by saturated fat and is present at high levels in products like cheese, butter, red meat, etc. The high in saturated fats food sources are meant to be eaten in very low quantities.

  • Fat helps in promoting proper eyesight and brain development in babies and children.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Fat Affects Cholesterol?

Ans: Dietary fat can increase total blood and LDL cholesterol levels, particularly in saturated and trans fat. Substituting polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (especially olive and canola oil) for some saturated fats can reduce blood cholesterol levels. The risk of heart disease can be decreased by elevated HDL cholesterol levels.

2. Is Cholesterol a Fatty Acid?

Ans: Cholesterol is unsaturated alcohol in the family of compounds of steroids and is a key element of the cell membranes of all animal cells. Triglycerides are the main lipid component of the animal food fats that have fatty acid esters of Glycerol.