All living things are composed of four essential organic compounds; lipids, proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. Lipids are important in holding up the structure of the body and storing energy. There are two kinds of lipids; simple lipids and complex lipids.
Both have different structures and functions. Simple lipids are made up of glycerol, an alcohol, and are attached to three carbon atoms. Simple lipids are often times referred to as triglycerides or fats. There are two subdivisions of simple lipids; saturated and unsaturated fats. The structural differences between the two help determine their functions. Unsaturated fats have double bonds between their carbon atoms, leaving space between the atoms. Saturated fats are the opposite, they do not have a double bond and are saturated with hydrogen molecules, which means the carbon atoms are packed tightly together. Unsaturated fats are in a liquid state at room temperature while saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
The primary function of a lipid is to create a plasma membrane around the cell that is selectively permeable, meaning that only good things such as nutrients are allowed in, and wastes are allowed to exit. If a strand of E. Coli. bacteria was grown at 25 degrees celsius, then grown at 37 degrees celsius, the amount of saturated fats would increase in the plasma membrane while the amount of unsaturated fats would decrease.
Because saturated fats are packed so closely together they have a higher melting point. Unsaturated fats have larger spaces in between their atoms so they melt at a lower temperature. At the higher temperature; 37 degrees celsius, many of the unsaturated fats have melted, leaving more saturated fats in the plasma membrane.
The amount of unsaturated fats is lower in a strand of E. Coli grown at the higher temperature. Both saturated and unsaturated fats are apart of our everyday diets. Different nuts and oils are examples of unsaturated fats while saturated fats often times include animal products such as cheese, milk and meat.
Knowledge about nutrition is important in keeping our bodies as healthy as possible. Knowing what we are putting into our bodies and how the different organic compounds affect us can help us have the energy to make the most out of every day. Lipids are essential to help store energy, produce hormones and maintain the structure of our bodies. While lipids are vital to our well being, overconsumption of fats can be detrimental to our health by causing heart conditions and clogging our arteries which is why it’s important to be educated on how what we consume affects our bodies.