The Role of Lipids in Food

Even though there are different kinds of fats, the reality is that they all belong to one family of molecules called lipids which share the similar chemical structure. In addition, part of the main lipid’s structure is the three-carbon glycerol backbone and the long chains of fatty acids that are attached to them. The difference in length that they have attached in that particular chain is the reason why some fats are solid at room temperature and some fats are liquid at room temperature. The role of these lipids play an important role in commercial edibles, thereafter my research is to inform about the interaction of fats within the different aspects of food such as flavor, emulsification, texture, density, and hydrogenation (Cy Ashley Webb.
The role lipids contribute to flavor depends on what kind of fat is used. Examples of these fats are butter, olive oil, lard and many oils that are infused with herbs and spices. Also is a good flavor carrier delivering taste and odor compounds derived from different parts of food. Fats can be tasted because of the way they cover the tongue and the flavor lingers making them last longer in the mouth. (Bethany Moncel,

The role of lipids in the emulsification is the dispersion of fat uniformly into water. The use of shortenings is formulated with mono-glycerides so fat and milk is emulsified in cake batters in order to create a fine texture cake. Some examples of food products that have an existent emulsification are salad dressing, mayonnaise, gravies and cheese sauces. The emulsification of fats and liquids is good to produce flavor and texture (Margaret McWilliams, Food Experimental Perspectives 7ed.).

Texture is affected by fats in different ways depending on the kind of product used. In baked products such as pastry dough, the butter or shortening is applied in different layers in order to create flakiness and also crunchiness after baked. Another way to create texture by emulsification is when the fat is creamed with sugar by the incorporation of air, creating numerous tiny spaces in the fat, thus when cooking the steam and carbon dioxide collect and expand producing a fine texture aired cake. Also fats keep a soft texture in breads when it is baked. When utilized for frying purposes the food develops a crisp texture as well (Margaret McWilliams, Food Experimental Perspectives 7ed.).

Other fats are induced with hydrogen gas to double the carbon bond in order to produce oils which create mouth feel and stability. Also this treatment is used to generate a longer melting point necessary to meet the requirements, based on the kind of food to be cooked ( This process is important to eliminate the trans-fat that some lipids like shortening have. Other advantages of this are the B-carotene added to achieve the yellow color and flavor to simulate butter-like flavoring compounds (Margaret McWilliams, Food Experimental Perspectives 7ed.).

It is important to recognize that fats and oils are derived from different resources such as animals, marine and plants. Scientifics research has been a significant part on the transformation of single fats and oils into hydrogenation processes that are transformed within the diverse preparation of food products. Without fats we cannot value the important contribution of color, flavor, texture, tenderness, emulsification in the cooking process. In addition, fat replacements such as protein, carbohydrates or fat based have been utilized to reduce calories and enhance health as well (Margaret McWilliams, Food Experimental Perspectives 7ed.).


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