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Building on basics

Lipid profiler

Everyone knows eating too much of the wrong kind of fat plays a role in a host of health problems, from heart disease to cancer to unsightly waistlines. Everyone, that is, but the scientists who study fat.

These researchers are learning more about the right kind of fats, and what they can do to fight cancer.

The answers may surprise you.

When you look at fat closely, beyond its caloric attributes, you get a different picture. Fats are dense, energy-storing molecules. Structurally speaking, fat molecules contain carbon and hydrogen. If one pair of hydrogen atoms is missing, the fatty acids are called monounsaturated. If two or more pairs of hydrogen atoms are missing, the fatty acids are called polyunsaturated.

Spotting this structure in food is pretty easy. Saturated fats, the kind most commonly found in animal products like butter and beef, are solid at room temperature. Monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, like the kind found in vegetable oils, are liquid.


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Supporting Cancer Center
UC Davis Cancer CenterUC Davis Health System

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