Difference between Saturated and Unsaturated fatty acids

Saturated fatty acids definition

Saturated fats are the most basic type of fats. They are linear chains with no branches made of CH2 groups that are linked by single carbon bonds. They are joined by the terminal carboxylic acid.

The term “saturated” can be used to denote that the most amount of hydrogen atoms are attached to every carbon atom in a fat molecule. The formula used to describe the acids used is: CnH2n+1COOH. The fatty acids derived from animal sources are typically linear chains that are even-numbered of saturated acid fatty acids. However, all lipids from sources have small amounts of saturated fatty acids, with an odd amount of carbon atoms (C5 through C17). In general, these strange-carbon acids comprise only 1% or less of total fat acids.


Some saturated fatty acids are given an unimportant name, along with their scientific namethat begins with the acidic carbon. Most fatty acids are chained with more than 12 carbon atoms. However, smaller fatty acids, such as butyric acid (C4) and caproic acid (C6) are significant saturated fatty acids in milk. Hydrogenation does not take place in saturated acids because all carbon atoms of the chain are saturated. The saturated fatty acids typically have greater melting points than the other types, leading to the assumption of saturated acids that they stay in their solid state at room temperature.

So saturated fatty acids constitute the fat component of all lipids. They can be made within the body. They’re predominantly solid and can be found in animal fats like meat, butter or whole milk. However, some saturated fatty acids can be found in vegetable sources such as coconut oil, vegetable oil as well as peanut oil. Since they have a high melting point which is higher than the melting point of other fatty acids, they have a longer longevity than unsaturated acids. Saturated fats also have a low rancidity. Saturated fatty acids comprise about 10% of all fats that we need in our diet since excessive amounts of these fats can cause an increase in the likelihood of developing heart disease.


A number of studies have proven studies have shown that saturated fatty acids can increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level in our bodies. This can increases the chance of developing inflammation. Saturated fatty acids can also be present in vitamins that are soluble. Some of the most well-known saturated fatty acids are palmitic acid, stearic acid and capric acid. Also, there is lauric acid myristic acids, etc.

Examples of saturated fatty acids

Stearic acid

Stearic acid is one of the examples of long-chained saturated fats with the hydrocarbon bone comprising 18 carbon atoms. The scientific name for this acid is octadecanoic . are typically found in animal (30 percent) and in plant (5 5 percent) fats. They are a major component of Cocoa butter as well as shea butter. It’s white-colored with a slight odor. It has a melting point that is in the range of 68 to 70 degC. Stearic acid is created through the saponification of triglycerides found in oil and fats with boiling water. Stearic acid could be used as food additives in certain foods, but the most important application of the fatty acid can be to serve as an lubricant or softening agent. It is also extensively employed in industry to make soaps and detergents. different cleaning agents. In humans the dietary stearic acid in our diet is reactively saturated with the oleic acid and also has lower LDL levels as compared to other saturated fatty acids.


Palmitic acid

Palmitic acid is a prime example of long-chained saturated fats with an hydrocarbon bone that has sixteen carbon atoms. The scientific name for the acid is hexadecanoic. It is found naturally in palm oil and kernel oil, as well as other sources such as butter milk, cheese and even meat. It’s white-colored with a greasy consistency, and melting points of 63 degrees Celsius. Palmitic acid is created through an process called saponification Palm oil with high temperatures of water. It is employed in the manufacture of soaps, detergents and other oils and lubricants. In addition, it can be used as a food additive because it improves the texture of processed food items.

Unsaturated fatty acids definition

Unsaturated fats are more complex fatty acids, with bent hydrocarbon chains joined with one or two carbon-carbon double bonds, with an end-to-end carboxylic acid group.


The word “unsaturated” means that carbon atoms don’t have the greatest number of hydrogen atoms bonded with carbon atoms. In the end, unsaturated fatty acids undergo hydrogenation, which results in saturated fat acids. Unsaturated fatty acids are classified into various groups based on the number of double bonds within the chain. Monoethenoid acid is a acid fatty acids that have one double bond. They can be described by the formula CnH2n-1COOH. They are also known by the name of monounsaturated acid.

Diethenoid acids possess two double bonds which conform to the formula general CnH2n-3COOH. Triethenoid acids possess three double bonds that conform to the formula of CnH2n-5COOH, and so on. Unsaturated fatty acids that have multiple double bonds are known as polyunsaturated fats. These fatty acids can be found in small amounts in mammals. Because of the presence in double bonds, both the trans as well as the trans-conformation is crucial. The unsaturated fatty acids that are found in the human body are in the conformation cis. Trans polyunsaturated fats, though not found in mammals, are made by microorganisms living in the guts of cattle.


Unsaturated fats have lower melting points contrasted to saturated fatty acids therefore they exist in liquid form at room temperature. They form the oil groups in the lipids. Vegetable oils have two types of polyunsaturated fatty acids : linoleic acid (lin with two double bonds) and an a-linolenic acids (len having triple bonds). The majority of vegetable oils as well as fish oils are the main sources of unsaturated fats. Since they have lower melting points and a lower melting point, they have a short shelf life, and may degrade quickly. The chances of rancidity and oxidation are also greater in unsaturated acid fatty acids.

Unsaturated fatty acids make up around 30% of the calories that the body needs. Therefore, they are more safe and healthier than saturated fats. Although they aren’t proven that they are safe, unsaturated fatty acids are believed to lower the low density cholesterol levels in our bodies as well as reducing the chance of heart disease and inflammation. The excessive consumption of unsaturated fat acids is the reason for reducing the levels of cholesterol within the body, and sometimes lower than what is desired. Examples of unsaturated fat acids are linoleic acid the oleic acid, linolenic acid, crotonic acids, and many more.


Examples of unsaturated fatty acids

Linoleic acid

Linoleic acid is a type of polyunsaturated fat acids which is among the two fat acids that are essential that are found in humans. The 18-carbon is a fatty acids that are mostly found in the plant oils. This is an doubly unaturated fatty acid, which is also called an omega-6 fatty acid. It is mostly found in glycosides of plants. It is a colorless or white oil that is insoluble inside water. It is not produced within the mammals’ bodies which is why it must be taken in via food sources. Linoleic acid plays a role for the production of arachidonic acids, as well as prostaglandins. It creates the lipid layer within cells’ membranes. Linoleic acid intake is vital for good health, and deficiency could cause hair loss or skin scaling.

Oleic acid

Oleic acid is a type of a monounsaturated fatty acid that is naturally found in vegetable oils and fats. It is naturally non-odorous and colorless, but Oleic acid that is commercially produced may appear as yellow. Oleic acid happens to be the largest and most well-known monounsaturated fat in the world and is present as esters rather than the fatty acids themselves and their salts. It is found in large concentrations in body fats , as well as phospholipids that line the membrane of cells. It is the highest-yielding of the fatty acids found in the adipose tissue of humans. The biosynthesis of oleic acid takes place in the body through the dehydrogenation process of stearic acid with the enzyme stearoyl CoA 9-desaturase.

Difference between Saturated and Unsaturated fatty acids – Saturated vs Unsaturated fatty acids 

Base for ComparativeSaturated acid fatty acidsUnsaturated Fatty acids
DefinitionSaturated fats are the most basic type of fats. They are unbranched linear chains made up of CH2 groups that are linked by single carbon bonds. They are joined by the terminal carboxylic acid.The unsaturated fat acids comprise complex fatty acids, with bent hydrocarbon chains that are joined through carbon-carbon double bonds. an acid group that is the terminal.
Double bondSaturated fatty acids don’t have carbon-carbon double bonds.Unsaturated fatty acids may contain one or more double bonds between carbon and carbon.
Hydrogen atomsSaturated fatty acids contain carbon atoms that have the highest number of hydrogen atoms that are bound to them.Unsaturated fatty acids don’t have the highest number of hydrogen atoms bonded to carbon atoms.
Chain of hydrocarbonsThe chains of hydrocarbons found in saturated fats are straight and unbranched.The hydrocarbon chains of unsaturated fatty acids bend and broken.
HydrogenationIt is impossible to generate hydrogen with saturated acids because there are no hydrogen atoms that can be added into the chain of hydrocarbons.Hydrogenation is feasible in unsaturated fat acids because double bonds are able to be converted into single bonds.
SourcesSaturated fatty acids can be present in the animal oils such as meat, butter and whole milkUnsaturated fatty acids can be obtained from plants such as sunflower oil, vegetable oils and avocado oil, mustard oil, and so on.
TypesSaturated fatty acids can’t be classified into any type.Unsaturated fatty acids are classified into different types based on how many double bonds.
ConfigurationTrans and cis configurations are not feasible in saturated fats.Unsaturated fatty acids can be present in either the cis or trans configurations.
Melting pointSaturated fats have a higher melting point.Unsaturated fat acids have lower melting points.
The state at room temperatureSaturated fatty acids can be found in the solid state at the temperature of room.Unsaturated fatty acids are present in liquid form at temperatures of room temperature.
RanciditySaturated fatty acids exhibit very low rancidity.Unsaturated fats have higher rancidity.
Shelf LifeAcids that are saturated have a longer shelf life, and are able to be kept for a longer period of time without deterioration.Unsaturated fats have a shorter shelf life and can’t be stored for a prolonged period without spoiling.
low-density Lipid (LDL) amountsSaturated fatty acids raise LDL cholesterol levels in the body.Unsaturated fatty acids reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the human body.
CompositionSaturated fatty acids comprise the fat portion of the lipids.Unsaturated fat acids constitute the oil component of the lipids.
Calories10% of all calories that are required for the body are derived from saturated fats.30% of all calories required by the body come from unsaturated fatty acids.
Solubility of vitaminsSaturated fat acids are soluble inside vitamins.Unsaturated fats are insoluble within vitamins.
StorageThey can be stored inside the liver, and beneath the skin in mammals.They are stored in seeds and fruit of plants.
The cells that hold saturated fatty acids have been known as adipocytes by animals.They are stored in the forms of fat-granules within plants.
Consumption excessiveIn excess consumption of saturated fat acids can cause heart problems.Unnecessary consumption of unsaturated fat acids can result in removal of cholesterol from the body.
ExamplesA few examples of well-known saturated fatty acids are palmitic acid, stearic acids and capric acid. Other examples include myristic acids, lauric acid and more.A few examples of unsaturated fats include the linolenic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid Crotonic acid, and so on.

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