The Difference Between Lipids and Fats

The Difference Between Lipids and Fats? Lipids and fats are two of the most commonly used terms in the health and nutrition industry, but what exactly do they mean? If you’re not sure about the difference between lipids and fats then this blog will help clear things up.

The difference between lipids and fats
The difference between lipids and fats

Key Differences-Lipids vs. Fats

Try to understand:

Lipids are a wide range of macronutrients that play a major role as structural molecules and energy sources. Triglycerides, phospholipids, and steroids are the various types of lipids found in the body. The two types of triglycerides are fat and oil. 

The main difference between lipids is a type of lipid, but lipids are a broad group of biomolecules . Fat is stored under adipose tissue and animal skin. It is mainly used in the body as an energy storage molecule. Most steroids in the body function as hormones. Phospholipids are mainly present in cell membranes.

Target field

1. What are lipids
      -definition, type, characteristic
      -Definition, type, characteristic
What are the similarities between lipid and fat
     -Overview of common functions
4. What is the difference between lipid and fat
     -Main Comparison of differences

Main terms: fats, lipids, phospholipids, saturated fats, steroids, transfects, triglycerides

What are the lipids?
What are the lipids?

What is lipid?

Lipids are a type of organic molecule that is insoluble in water and soluble in organic solvents. They are a diverse group of molecules. Most of the lipids are liquids. However, some lipids, such as fat, are solid. The three major types of lipids are triglycerides, phospholipids, and steroids. The largest class of lipids is triglyceride

Triglycerides are also called natural fats. They are esters and contain a single glycerol molecule attached to three fatty acid molecules. Two types of triglycerides can be identified as fats and oils based on the saturation of fatty acid molecules. 

Unsaturated triglycerides are known as oils and saturated triglycerides are known as fats. The main function of triglycerides in the body is to function as energy storage molecules.

Phospholipids are derivatives of triglycerides because they contain two fatty acid molecules. The third carbon of the glycerol molecule is attached to the phosphate group. Thereby, the phospholipid is an amphipathic molecule in which the diglyceride moiety is hydrophobic and the phosphate group is hydrophilic. 

Phospholipids are the major structural components of cell membranes, and they form a phospholipid bilayer. Phospholipid molecules make the cell membrane a selective permeable barrier. The structure of the phospholipid bilayer is shown in Figure 1.

What are the lipids?

Figure 1: Phosphorlipid bilayer

Steroids are a type of hydrophobic molecule found primarily as cholesterol and hormones. Cholesterol is a precursor to other types of steroids in the body.

What is fat?

Fat is an oily substance that exists in the body under the skin and around organs. Due to the high saturation of fatty acids, fats are typically solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are known as oils, which are liquids at room temperature. 

Typically, fats are of animal origin and oils are of plant origin. The two types of fat are saturated fat and trans fat. Dairy products, meat, butter and cheese are the main sources of saturated fat. Ingesting saturated fat is good for your health. Because it raises levels of good cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.

What is fat?
What is fat?

Figure 2: Foods containing fat

Trans fats are produced by partial dehydrogenation of liquid vegetable oils. It contains single and double bonds in its structure. Due to the high degree of saturation, trans fats are also solid at room temperature. 

Ingesting more trans fats raises the level of bad cholesterol in the blood and lowers the level of good cholesterol, which is bad for your health.

Similarities between lipids and fats

  • Both lipids and fats are types of molecules found in the body of animals.
  • Both lipids and fats are used as energy sources in the body.
  • Both lipids and fats are insoluble in water and soluble in organic solvents.
  • Both lipids and fats are broken down by a group of enzymes called lipases.

The difference between lipids and fats


Lipids: Lipids are a type of organic molecule that is insoluble in water and soluble in organic solvents.

Fat: Fat is an oily substance found in the body, under the skin, or around organs.


Lipids: Lipids are a diverse group of biomolecules found in the body of an animal.

Fat: Fat is a type of lipid.


Lipids: Triglycerides, phospholipids, and steroids are three types of lipids.

Fats: Saturated fats and trans fats are two types of fats.

Physical condition

Lipids: Some lipids are solids, others are liquids.

Fat: Fat is a solid substance.


Lipids: Lipids act as structural components as well as energy molecules in the body.

Fat: Fat is used as an energy source.


Lipids and fats are two types of biomolecules in the body of animals. Both lipids and fats are soluble only in organic solvents. Lipids are a diverse group of biomolecules consisting of triglycerides, phospholipids, and steroids. Fat is a type of triglyceride that is solid at room temperature due to its high saturation. The main difference between lipids and fats is the type of molecule.


1. Helmenstine, Anne Marie. “Where are the types of lipids and their locations?”

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