The main difference between fat and cholesterol is that fat is a macronutrient whereas cholesterol is not a macronutrient. Therefore, fat serves as an energy source while cholesterol does not serve an energy source. Furthermore, cholesterol is a vital compound in the cell membrane, and it serves as the precursor in the production of sex hormones and steroid hormones in the adrenal gland. Moreover, excess fat leads to obesity and increases blood cholesterol levels while excess cholesterol may lead to heart disease and diabetes.
Fat and cholesterol are two types of lipids found in the body. Both perform vital functions although their excess amounts cause serious illnesses.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Fat
– Definition, Types, Role
2. What is Cholesterol
– Definition, Types, Role
3. What are the Similarities Between Fat and Cholesterol
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Fat and Cholesterol
– Comparison of Key Differences
Cholesterol, Fat, HDL, LDL, Lipids, Saturated Fat, Unsaturated Fat
What is Fat
Fat is a type of triglyceride, which is an ester made up of glycerol and three fatty acids. The other type of triglyceride is oil. Fats have an animal origin and are solids at room temperature. On the other hand, oils have a plant origin, and they are liquids at room temperature. However, most of the times, fats refer to the lipid in the diet. As mentioned before, they are the main source of fats in the diet. Furthermore, fats have both structural and metabolic functions in the body. That means; fat protects our organs by producing physical cushioning and insulation. Also, fat is a macronutrient, which serves as a concentrated source of energy.
Moreover, the two major forms of fat that occur in the body are saturated fat and unsaturated fat.
- Saturated fat – contains all single bonds between the carbon molecules of the fatty acid chain
- Unsaturated fat – contains one (monounsaturated fat) or more (polyunsaturated fat) double bonds between the carbon molecules in the fatty acid chain. Further, unsaturated fat can be classified as cis and trans fat.
What is Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a type of sterol, which serves as a precursor for the synthesis of steroid hormones. Also, it is an important component of the cell membrane. It is important in the production of vitamin D and bile. Importantly, it forms the myelin sheath, insulating the axons of nerve cells. Generally, cholesterol is a waxy substance mainly produced by the liver and animal cells.
Furthermore, cholesterol is transported throughout the blood by a group of carrier proteins called lipoproteins. There are five types of lipoproteins: chylomicrons (ULDL), very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL), low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Moreover, LDL is considered as bad cholesterol since its oxidation within the arteries causes atherosclerosis. However, HDL is a type of good cholesterol since this lipoprotein carries cholesterol from the body to the liver.
Similarities Between Fat and Cholesterol
- Fat and cholesterol are two types lipids in the body.
- They occur together in the blood as well.
- Also, both of them come from the diet and also, the liver can synthesize them inside the body.
- Furthermore, both are insoluble in water.
- Water-soluble carrier proteins called lipoproteins are responsible for the transport of them through the blood.
- However, the excess amount of them in the body cause serious illnesses.
Difference Between Fat and Cholesterol
Fat refers to a natural oily substance occurring in animal bodies, especially when deposited as a layer under the skin or around certain organs while cholesterol refers to a compound of the sterol type found in most body tissues serving as a component of the cell membrane and precursor for the synthesis of steroid hormones. These definitions explain the fundamental difference between fat and cholesterol.
Moreover, fats mainly come through the diet while the liver synthesizes cholesterol.
Another difference between fat and cholesterol is that fats are fatty acid esters of glycerol while cholesterol is a type of sterol.
The two main types of fat are saturated fat and unsaturated fat while cholesterol can be classified based on the type of lipoprotein to which they bind.
Furthermore, the main difference between fat and cholesterol is that fat is a macronutrient while cholesterol performs other vital functions in the body.
Function in the Body
Also, fat serves as an energy source while cholesterol is a component of the cell membrane and it serves as a precursor for the synthesis of steroid hormones. This is another difference between fat and cholesterol.
“Good” and “Bad”
Good fats are the mono and polyunsaturated fats while the bad fats are the saturated fats. In contrast, good cholesterols are the high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) while bad cholesterols are the low-density lipoproteins (LDLs).
Excess Amounts in the Body
The excess amounts of fat in the body result in obesity and increased levels of cholesterol while the excess amounts of cholesterol cause heart disease and diabetes. This is also a difference between fat and cholesterol.
Fat is a type of lipid which mainly enters the body through the diet. The main function of fat is to serve as an energy source. However, excess amounts of fat cause obesity and increased levels of cholesterol. In comparison, cholesterol is another type of lipid, which is an important component of the cell membrane. Also, it serves as a precursor for the synthesis of steroid hormones. However, the excess amounts of cholesterol cause heart disease and diabetes. Therefore, the main difference between fat and cholesterol is the type of lipid and their role in the body.
1. “The Truth about Fats: the Good, the Bad, and the in-Between.” Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Health Publishing, Available Here
2. “Cholesterol.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 23 Oct. 2018, Available Here