What is triglycerides
Triglycerides are fats carried in the blood from the food we ingest, they are carried in the bloodstream as serum-soluble lipoproteins, or lipid-carrying proteins. Triglycerides are measured as an indirect index of triglyceride-containing lipoproteins. It is said the average American ingests around 300 mg of cholesterol per day, compared with 60,000-120,000 mg (60-120 grams) of triglycerides i.e., 200 to 400 times greater than dietary cholesterol from fat intake. It means that most of the fats we eat, including butter, margarines and oils, are in triglyceride form and as the name suggests are one of three types of fats.
- Monoglycerides which are made up of one fatty acid group.
- Diglycerides which are made from two fatty acid groups,
- Triglycerides which are made up of three fatty acid groups.
Triglycerides are an efficient storage method for fats, because they take multiple fatty acid molecules and combine them with a glycerol molecule to store multiple fats in one fat molecule. For this reason, the body prefers to use triglycerides for energy storage whenever possible.
What role do Triglycerides play in the body?
They serve as a source of energy (fatty acids from triglycerides are used for muscular work or stored as body fat for future energy production). Ingested fats are either burned up immediately as fuel, or else stored in the adipose tissue where triglycerides are kept until signaled by certain hormones to be released again into the bloodstream to be used as fuel. So there is a mechanism whereby your liver will quickly convert unused calories, especially simple carbohydrates, into triglycerides for storage. So if you’re eating more calories than you expend especially alcohol and sugar, your liver will most likely be storing many of those calories as triglycerides in fat cells throughout the body.
Additionally Triglycerides carry the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and vitamin K, an important nutrient in normal blood coagulation. They also provide thermal insulation and contribute to the structure of membranes by the formation of a lipid bilayer which has been firmly established as the universal basis for cell-membrane structure. In short Triglycerides like Cholesterol are vital for our ability to function, its only excessive amounts of both that cause health problems.