What is the medical term for the breakdown of fat?


Quick Answer

The breakdown of fats in the human body is scientifically known as fatty acid metabolism. Fatty acid metabolism involves two processes: fatty acid synthesis, which prepares fat for storage, and fatty acid degradation, which converts fat to energy.

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Full Answer

Fatty acids are long chains of lipid-carboxylic acid found in fats and oils. They are essential to the formation of phospholipids and glycolipids in cell membranes. Omega-3 fatty acids, found primarily in fish oils, help reduce bad cholesterol levels. Trans fatty acids, on the other hand, increase bad cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels have been linked with heart disease, stroke and prostate cancer.

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