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Fats & Oils Investigation. Fats and oils naturally occur in food, and play a vital role in human nutrition and a healthy diet. They are used to store energy in the human body, insulate various bodily tissues such as the stomach and liver, and transport f

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Introduction

"The role of fats and oils in our diets." Part A: Chemistry of fats and oils Introduction and types of fats and oils Fats and oils naturally occur in food, and play a vital role in human nutrition and a healthy diet. They are used to store energy in the human body, insulate various bodily tissues such as the stomach and liver, and transport fat-soluble vitamins in the bloodstream. The types of fats are differentiated through their molecular structure, and can be broken down into the following sub-categories: saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and trans fatty acids. (Ellis-Christensen, 2011) Each of these sub categories behave differently when consumed in the human body, with all four types consists of "fatty acids," which are made up of the molecules carbon and hydrogen in myriad of compounds. Structure and chemistry Fats and oils are straight chained carboxylic acids, which feature the elements of carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O), and contain the functional carboxyl group (-COOH) on one end. Saturated fats are quite literally "saturated" with hydrogen molecules, occupying all the bonds that carbon can hold, therefore results in no double or triple bonds between the carbons. ...read more.

Middle

(WiseGEEK, 2011) Monounsaturated fats Monounsaturated fatty acids are mainly derived from plants and nuts such as olives, peanuts, sunflowers and sesame in oil form. They are extremely beneficial and maintenance of a healthy body when eaten in moderation. They are able to help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, and also lower the individual's risk of heart disease and stroke. (EasyDietForLife, 2009) Monounsaturated fatty acids contain one double bond in its structure, hence the name "unsaturated" - the carbon atoms are not fully saturated with hydrogens. As the double bond occurs at only one time in the structure of the fatty acid, it is called "mono." Because they contain a double bond, they are unable to pack together into a solid lattice as unsaturated fats can, and therefore when they are attached to a triester of glycerol, they retain their oil form, but form a solid when chilled. As they contain a double they are able to undergo reactions that the unsaturated compound cannot. Monounsaturated fatty acids are important in the health of the human body, and research has shown that monounsaturated fat is able to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of breast cancer as well as a myriad of other benefits. ...read more.

Conclusion

Keiley differentiates the "good" fat from the "bad," and highlights which types have been shown and are associated with health problems. The article details the four main types of fats and oils, being saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and corrects the reader on the assumptions made by society on trans and saturated fats. Some of the concepts Keiley informs the reader on are; the fact that saturated fats raise both good and bad cholesterol levels, whereas trans fats solely increase the bad cholesterol while simultaneously decreasing the bad cholesterol. The writer also informs the reader on the history of fats and oils, and the industry boom in the 1950s of hydrogenated products. The article is very specific to the topic at hand, and gives the reader current information on fats and oils, as well as a little background information. It can be easily understood by anyone who is willing to read it, outlining the facts and the fiction in black and white clarity. The Truth about Fats and Oils is targeted at individuals in society who do not have a clear understanding of the benefits and disadvantages of the various types of fat and oil, and the audience could be young teenage children to the elderly. Keiley keeps a generally un-biased view on all topics, blatantly stating the good and the bad. ...read more.

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