Fat is one of the three main macronutrients, along with carbohydrate and protein. Fats, also known as triglycerides, are esters of three fatty acid chains and the alcohol glycerol. The terms "lipid", "oil" and "fat" are often confused. "Lipid" is the general term, though a lipid is not necessarily a triglyceride. "Oil" normally refers to a lipid with short or unsaturated fatty acid chains that is liquid at room temperature, while "fat" (in the strict sense) may specifically refer to lipids that are solids at room temperature – however, "fat" (in the broad sense) may be used in food science as a synonym for lipid. Fats, like other lipids, are generally hydrophobic, and are soluble in organic solvents and insoluble in water. Fat is an important foodstuff for many forms of life, and fats serve both structural and metabolic functions. They are a necessary part of the diet of most heterotrophs (including humans). Some fatty acids that are set free by the digestion of fats are called essential because they cannot be synthesized in the body from simpler constituents. There are two essential fatty acids (EFAs) in human nutrition: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid).
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