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Healthy Fats Broken Down


Dietary fats are broken down in the body in a very complex structure. 

Fat has been criticized and maligned.  However, truth be told healthy fats such as olive oil, fish, nuts play an important role in nutrition and health.

Fat is a highly concentrated energy source and is the preferred energy source over sugar.  Fat also carries fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K, cushions your internal organs and is an important component of hormones as well as cell membranes.  Before they can be used for any of these purposes however, you need to process them into a usable form.


Most of the fats that you ingest are in the form of triglycerides.  These are molecules of three fatty acids that are bound to a glycerol backbone.  During the digestion process, two of these fatty acids molecules are clipped off which leaves them free together with the remaining monoglyceride free for absorption.

Lipase is the fat-digesting enzyme that breaks down these triglycerides and is present in small amounts in your saliva and gastric juices.  However, it is predominantly active in your small intestine.  In order to help the process along, your liver produces bile which is an emulsifying fluid that mixes with the dietary fat and renders it more water soluble.



Once the products of triglyceride digestion such as the free fatty acids and monoglycerides are released into the small intestine, they travel to the inside of an intestinal and reform into a triglyceride. The triglyceride, along with cholesterol and other fat particles including fat-soluble vitamins, then come together and form a chylomicron.

The chylomicron becomes the transport vehicle and moves across the cell where it enters your lymph system and then your bloodstream. It is in your bloodstream, that the chylomicron releases its contents, thus allowing the fat particles to reach the tissues throughout your body.

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