Fatty acids are the building blocks of the fat in our bodies and in the food we eat. A fatty acid is a carboxylic acid with an aliphatic chain, which can be either saturated or unsaturated. Fatty acids are both important dietary sources of fuel for animals and important structural components for cells.
Saturated fat is a type of fat in which there is no carbon-to-carbon double bond, as a result of which most of the hydrogen atoms are bonded to carbons and is saturated with the hydrogen atoms. Chemically, saturated fats are saturated with hydrogen molecules and contain only single bonds between the carbon molecules. Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products and tropical oils like milk, cheese, butter, meats such as pork, beef, lamb, poultry items, and coconut and palm oil.
Unsaturated fat is a type of fat in which there is at least one double bond present between the carbon atoms of a fatty acid chain. A fatty acid chain is said to be monosaturated if it contains one double bond. If it contains more than one double bond, then it is said to be polysaturated. Hydrogen atoms are removed from the fatty acid chains to form the carbon-to-carbon double bonds. In cellular metabolism, it is said that unsaturated fats contain fewer calories (provide less energy) than an equivalent amount of saturated fats. The unsaturated fats (or unsaturated fatty acids) can be further divided into two types: cis-fat (also known as cis fatty acid) and trans-fat (also known as trans fatty acid).
Cis-Fat vs Trans-Fat
As stated earlier, in unsaturated fatty acids, the carbon atoms are joined by double bonds and have their hydrogen atoms removed so that each carbon atom has four bonds. If the hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bonds of the carbon chains, then it is said to have “cis” configuration. Cis-fats are generally found in nuts, fish, and corn oil. These fats are considered to be beneficial for human consumption as these fats keep the heart healthy and increase the level of good cholesterol.
If the hydrogen atoms are on the opposite side of the double bonds of the carbon chains then it is said to have “trans” configuration. Trans-fat can be categorized into two types based on the source of their origin: naturally occurring trans-fat and artificial trans-fat. The naturally occurring trans-fat is found in some animal products and is not considered to be harmful to human health, but artificial trans-fat, which are hydrogenated vegetable oils, may have an adverse effect on one’s health and can lead to serious health-related consequences.
Difference Between Cis-Fat And Trans-Fat In Tabular Form
|Topic Of Comparison||Cis-Fat||Trans-Fat|
|Definition||Cis fats are a type of unsaturated fats in which two hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bond.||Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fats in which two hydrogen atoms are on the opposite side of the double bond.|
|Location with respect to double bonds||It is present on the same side of the double bond.||It is present on the opposite sides of the double bond.|
|Type of chain||Cis fats are bent chains.||Trans fats are straight chains.|
|State||Cis fats are oils (liquid form).||Trans fats are more solid forms.|
|Stability||Cis fats are less stable than trans fat.||Trans fats are thermodynamically more stable.|
|Melting points||Cis fats have low melting points.||Trans fatty acids have higher melting points than their cis counterparts.|
|Source of occurrence||Cis fats (fatty acids) occur naturally.||Trans fats (fatty acids) can occur naturally as well as can be generated artificially as a result of industrial processes such as hydrogenation.|
|Health effect||Cis fats are good for health unless it is consumed in unreasonably high quantities.||Trans fats are detrimental. It lowers the good cholesterol level and increases the bad cholesterol level in the body, which makes it harmful to heart health and prone to certain serious heart ailments followed by cardiac death.|
|Sources||Cis fats are found in nuts, fish and corn oil.||Trans fats are generally found in hydrogenated oils.|
What Is Cis-Fat?
Cis-fat or cis-fatty acids have hydrogen bonds on the same side of the carbon atoms, which are double-bonded together. As a result of this, a kink is caused in the structure of the molecule, making it difficult for the fats to stack upon one another. This is the reason why most of the cis-fatty acids are in liquid form. Also, due to the presence of kink in the shape, the cis-fatty acids can melt at a much lower temperature. It can do so because the kink in the shape does not enable the fats to stack upon each other. The effect of the kink is in certain restricted environments. The cis bonds limit the ability of fatty acids to be closely packed and affect the melting temperature of the membrane or the fat. The more double bonds the chain has in the cis configuration, the less flexibility it has. It increases the cellular membrane fluidity. Cis-fatty acids are naturally occurring and good for human health as they promote good cholesterol. Cis-fats are generally found in olive oil, mid-oieic sunflower oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
What Is Trans-Fat?
Trans-fat or trans-fatty acids have hydrogen bonds on the opposite side of the carbon atoms, which are double-bonded together. These carboxylic acids contain long aliphatic carbon chains having two hydrogen atoms attached to the double bond on the opposite sides of the carbon chain. As a result of this, the carbon chain does not bend much, unlike cis-fatty acids. The shape of the trans fatty acids is similar to that of the straight saturated fatty acids. The trans fatty acids are of two types: naturally occurring and artificial. However, trans fatty acids are not that common in nature as cis configuration. The majority of them are formed as a result of industrial production (generally hydrogenation reaction). Artificial trans fatty acids (also industrial trans-fat and partially hydrogenated fats) are hazardous to human health. They can increase the risk of cardiac diseases. The recent observational studies and clinical trials state that this configuration of fatty acid can have hazardous effects on cardiac health like an increase in the level of bad cholesterol, causing damage to the inner lining of the blood vessels, increasing the risk of certain cancers which can further lead to cardiac death. Trans-fat is generally found in commercial baked goods like cakes, cookies, and fried fast foods like burgers, french fries, and stick margarine.
Main Differences Between Cis-Fat And Trans-Fat In Points
- Cis-fats are beneficial for health as they promote good cholesterol, whereas trans-fats are considered harmful to cardiovascular health.
- Cis-fatty acids have hydrogen bonds on the same side of the carbon atoms, which are double bonded together, whereas trans-fatty have hydrogen bonds on the opposite side of the carbon atoms, which are double bonded together.
- Cis-fatty acids are completely naturally occurring, whereas trans-fatty acids are majorly produced in industrial processes like hydrogenation.
- Cis-fatty acids have bent structures, whereas trans-fat fatty acids have straight structures.
- A kink is caused in the structure of the cis-fatty-acid molecule, making it difficult for the fats to stack upon one another, making most of the cis-fatty acids in liquid form, unlike trans-fats, which are in solid form at room temperature.
- Cis-fatty acids have a low melting point, whereas trans-fatty acids have high melting points.
We can conclude by saying that cis-fats and trans-fats are the geometrical isomers of unsaturated fatty acids (or unsaturated fats). As in cis-fats, two hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bond, forming a bent chain. On the contrary, in trans-fats, two hydrogen atoms are on the opposite side of the double bond, which forms a straight chain.