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Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Diane McKay

Tufts OpenCourseWare
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Foundations of Nutrition Science, Fall 2012
D. McKay, PhD, FACN



  • List the 3 major types of lipids found in foods and in the body.
  • Describe the general structure of a triglyceride.
  • Define monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acid.  Identify major food sources of each.
  • Define trans fatty acid, and identify common food sources.
  • Identify the essential fatty acids and their role in the formation of eicosanoids. 
  • Identify major food sources of the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Describe how and where dietary lipids are digested and absorbed.
  • Discuss the role of the lipoproteins (chylomicrons, LDL, and HDL) in transporting lipids throughout the body.
  • List the major functions of fat in the body.
  • Discuss the role of fat in the development of heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
  • Explain the effects of the different fatty acids on blood cholesterol levels, i.e., HDL and LDL, and the health implications of raising and lowering these levels.
  • Describe the major food sources of fat in the Mediterranean diet, and why this dietary pattern is considered heart healthy.

Required readings:

  • Whitney & Rolfes, Chapter 5, The Lipids: Triglycerides, Phospholipids, and Sterols; Highlight 5 
  • The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid (Oldways Preservation Trust)

Supplementary readings and links:

  • "Fats and Cholesterol" (Harvard School of Public Health)
  • "Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid" (Mayo Clinic)