H H

Glycerol Fatty acid portion portions

Figure 2.13

A triglyceride molecule (fat) consists of a glycerol and three fatty acid "tails."

A diet rich in saturated fat increases a person's risk of developing atherosclerosis, a serious disease that causes obstruction of certain blood vessels. It is healthful to substitute unsaturated, particularly mono-unsaturated, fats for dietary saturated fats.

Saturated fats are more abundant in fatty foods that are solids at room temperature, such as butter, lard, and most other animal fats. Unsaturated fats are plentiful in fatty foods that are liquids at room temperature, such as soft margarine and seed oils, including corn oil and soybean oil. Coconut and palm oils, however, are exceptions — they are relatively high in saturated fat.

Steroid molecules are complex structures that include connected rings of carbon atoms (fig. 2.15). Among the more important steroids are cholesterol, which is in all body cells and is used to synthesize other steroids; sex hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone; and several hormones from the adrenal glands. Chapters 13, 14, 20, 21, and 22 discuss these steroids. Table 2.7 summarizes the molecular structures and characteristics of lipids.

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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