Cholesterol in Saturated and Unsaturated Fats?

Which would hold more cholesterol?

I tent to associate saturated fats with unhealthiness and cholesterol. Therefore I would guess saturated (even though I know cholesterol is good for you) fats have more cholesterol in them.

However, the fatty acids in unsaturated fats have kinks from carbon double bonding. That would make me think that more cholesterol could be found inside since there is more space between molecules.

I am just curious, thanks for those who reply!


  • ATP-Man

    The answer to your question has nothing to do with how much cholesterol HDL and LDL’s can hold. They have different purposes in the physiology of the body.

    Low density lipoprotein is the major carrier of cholesterol in the blood. Its particle has a diameter of 22 nm and a mass of about 3 million Dalton’s. It contains some 1500 esterfied cholesterol molecules. The role of this lipoprotein is to transport cholesterol to peripheral tissues and regulated de novo cholesterol synthesis at these sites.
    HDL’s serve a different purpose. They pick up cholesterol released into the plasma from dying cells and from membranes undergoing turnover. They take this cholesterol to the liver or to tissues that make steroid hormones.
    Studies have been conducted on controlling cholesterol in the body. In general, cells outside the liver and intestine obtain cholesterol from the plasma than making it de novo.
    Their primary source of cholesterol is the LDL’s. The process of LDL uptake is called receptor mediated endocytosis.
    If you have too much dietary cholesterol in your plasma and not enough receptors to clear them away it accumulates giving you the problem too high a cholesterol count. There are individuals that do not have these receptors in their cells causing the disease hypercholesterolemia.

  • Lamictalfan


    You’re right about saturated fats having more cholesterol. They’re also called low density lipoproteins. In this case, density refers to the amount of protein – so, more lipids and less protein in LDLs.

    There is more space in unsaturated phospholipids, kind of. However, cholesterol acts as an important regulator of membrane fluidity in membranes with more saturated fatty acid tails. That is, cholesterol maintains more space between the tails, so when it gets cold, the phospholipids don’t aggregate because the cholesterol is in the way. Cellular membranes need to be fluid in order for molecules to pass through.

    So, I guess the spaces in unsaturated FA tails are filled with more proteins. They still have cholesterol, however, to maintain fluidity – just less of it, since the kinks in the tail help with that already.

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