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Biochemistry 208.5.5

In: Science

Submitted By dschmitt
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Desiree Schmitt

In humans/animals, the main cells that store fat for energy are adipocytes. These fat cells are found under the skin, in the abdominal cavity and surround major organs. The fatty tissue is the body’s main means of storing energy for long periods of time. Lipids, like triglycerides are stored in the adipocytes until ready to be used by the body for energy. Fat is broken down through metabolism in the mitochondria of the cell. The triglycerides are broken down into glycerol and 3 fatty acids. The glycerol can be easily converted to glyceraldehyde 3 phosphate, an intermediate of glycolysis. From there it can go through the Krebs Cycle and electron transport chain to make ATP. The 3 fatty acids can be broken down into 2 carbon subunits that are converted to Acetyl CoA which goes directly into the Krebs cycle and then electron transport chain to make more ATP. Fats are actually more energy efficient than glucose and can generate 2 times the amount of energy.
Saturated fats are deemed saturated because all of the carbons on their chain are fully saturated with hydrogen. Saturated fats can be created in the body and are usually solid at room temperature. Saturated fats are considered the “bad” fats because they come from animals and raise cholesterol levels contributing to clogged arteries.

Unsaturated fats have double bonds which result in fewer hydrogen on the carbon chains. The body cannot make double bonded carbon chains; therefore it must come from our diet, mostly plant based. Unsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature but can also be found in avocados, fish, nuts, etc… The diagram below shows the kink in the chain of the unsaturated fat molecule caused by the double bond. It is at this point that the hydrogens are unable to bond to all the carbons.

Fatty acids perform many functions in the body....

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