What Components Make up Fat?

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Fats are mainly made up of glycerides, but there are many other minor components of fats. These include phospholids, glycolipids, phosphoinositides, plant sterols like sitsterol and stigmasterol, vitamins E and A, unsaturated hydrocarbons like squalene and carotenoids are also found in fats. Fats may also contain derivatives of their natural components after they have undergone processes like oxidation, decomposition and polymerization.

Glyceride, the major component of fats, mainly contains fatty acids. The types of fatty acids in a glyceride and their reactive properties have a great influence on both the physical and chemical characteristics of a glyceride. Some fats have only one type of fatty acid while others like butter have more than a hundred types of fatty acids, though some of these fatty acids are found in large quantities while others are in negligible quantities.

The University of Indiana highlights that it is important to differentiate between saturated acids and the unsaturated acids in the composition of glycerides. Saturated acids contain only one bond between the carbon atoms while the unsaturated acids have a double bond between at least one pair of carbon atoms. Saturated acids have higher melting points while the unsaturated acids have lower melting points and are more reactive.