Survival is made possible through the intake of food. Often people eat several times a day and enjoy a wide variety of cuisine. Some individuals eat a well-balanced healthy diet while other's diets may be less benefiting. Three components of diet are fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Fats provide energy and aid in "the synthesis of many body compounds" (Mitchell 7). Carbohydrates are "the least expensive and quickest source of energy" (5). Proteins help build and maintain body structure (5). .
Fats are greasy substances that are not soluble in water. They are soluble in some solvents such as ether, benzene, and chloroform. They provide a more concentrated source of energy than carbohydrates. Fat-rich foods are generally more expensive than carbohydrate-rich foods. Fats are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and a proportionately smaller amount of oxygen (Townsend 78). .
Fats can be found in both plant and animal foods. Plant foods include oils, made from sunflowers, sesame seeds, corn, peanuts, or soybeans. Nuts are another rich source of fats. Animal foods include fatty meats like bacon, sausage, fatty fish such as tuna and salmon. Milk and egg yolks are also high in fat.
"In addition to providing energy, fats are essential for the function and structure of body tissues. Fats are a necessary part of cell membranes (cell walls). They contain essential fatty acids and act as carriers for fat-soluble vitamins. The fat stored in body tissues provides energy" (79). .
A fat can be classified as saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated according to the type and quantity of fatty acids it contains (Stanfield 60). When a fat is saturated, each of its carbon atoms carries all the hydrogen atoms it can [A]. If a fat is monounsaturated, there is a place among the carbon atoms of its fatty acids where there is less hydrogen atoms connected than in saturated fats [B]. In polyunsaturated there are two or more places among the carbon atoms of its fatty acids where there are lesser hydrogen atoms than in saturated fats [C] (Townsend 80).