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Is carbon in fat an atom or element?

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  • Is carbon in fat an atom or element?

    That's what I want to know
    well then

  • #2
    The periodic table of elements lists all the known atoms.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Gadsie View Post
      That's what I want to know
      An atom is the smallest particle. An element is a certain type of atom. Element defines what kind of atom. I don't know how to explain better. Someone correT me
      If I'm wrong.

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      • #4
        It is both. Carbon is an element. One of the 118 or so currently known to man. When it is in fat and thus part of a molecule of fat (as in chemically bonded to other atoms - mostly hydrogen and oxygen) there are many carbon atoms in that fat molecule. "Atom" is a physical piece of matter. "Element" is a term used to describe matter that cannot be broken down into a simpler substance. So, dihydrogen monoxide (water) is not an element - since it can be broken down into atoms of hydrogen and oxygen - which are both elements.

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        • #5
          Ok thanks. I know the difference between elements and atoms but I couldn't really figure out how a fat molecule is exactly constructed. I'm writing an essay for school. Is this sentence correct? Saturated fat is saturated because between every carbon atom is a bond which is saturated with a hydrogen atom
          well then

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          • #6
            Fats are made up of fatty acid chains attached to a molecule of glycerol. The fatty acid chains are made up of hydrogen and carbon. Think of a carbon atom as having four arms. And a hydrogen atom as having only one. In fat the carbon forms a chain of carbons holding onto each other. In saturated fat, two of those arms will be holding onto the carbon atoms either side of it and the other two arms are holding onto a hydrogen atom each. The carbon cannot hold onto any more hydrogen. All the arms are being used.

            In unsaturated fat, some of the carbon uses two hands to hold onto one of the other carbons next to it, and one hand for the other carbon. It has one hand remaining for a hydrogen atom. Therefore the carbon it is not saturated with hydrogen as it could hold more hydrogen if it wasn't using two hands for one of the bonds.

            There's a good image of these bonds on this page here:

            The Fat Primer

            Hope this helps.
            My photo diary of my primal diet on wordpress

            My primal journal on MDA.

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            • #7
              What Silky said

              Unsaturated has double bonds somewhere in the hydrocarbon chain ie

              H-C=C=C-H
              | |
              H H

              Saturated hasn't so it's like this



              H H H
              | | |
              H - C - C - C -H
              | | |
              H H H

              (hoping the formating works - edit it bloody dosn't)
              You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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              • #8
                The fatty acid chains are made up of hydrogen and carbon

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gadsie View Post
                  Is this sentence correct? Saturated fat is saturated because between every carbon atom is a bond which is saturated with a hydrogen atom
                  No, it's not correct. Saturated Fat is saturated because the carbon chain contains no double bonds (i.e. each carbon atom links to a neighbouring carbon only once). Mono-unsaturated fats have a single double bond (i.e. one of the carbon atoms is linked to the same neighbour twice). Poly-unsaturated fats have multiple double-bonds.
                  Last edited by magicmerl; 10-28-2012, 08:11 PM.
                  Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                  Griff's cholesterol primer
                  5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                  Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                  TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                  bloodorchid is always right

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                  • #10
                    I think the OP was asking if the use of the term "atom" in his/her sentence was correct, which it is. As to the chemistry... I have no clue.
                    An atom is the smallest unit of matter, and since matter is made up of the different elements that exist, the term "atom" essentially refers to a single unit of a given element (what element it is specifically depends on the number of protons). Defining elements based on the number of protons is how we distinguish between the different ones (i.e. hydrogen has one proton, helium has two, etc...). Make sense?
                    Subduction leads to orogeny

                    My blog that I don't update as often as I should: http://primalclimber.blogspot.com/

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                    • #11
                      A saturated bond between carbon and hydrogen does not readily react with any chemical entity other than oxygen via combustion.

                      An unsaturated bond on the other hand is far more reactive to various other chemical entities.

                      Yes, carbon in any compound is an atom or an element. The nature of the bonds that if forms in any molecule dictates its behaviour. The bonds are important.

                      An atom is not the smallest unit of matter. All but the smallest atoms consist of protons and neutrons in their nucleus with electrons whizzing around them in well-ordered quantum orbitals. Protons and neutrons have significant mass and electrons just a tiny mass. Beyond this, particle physics gets rather complicated and very theoretical.

                      But at the end of they day, we all have to draw a line somewhere and say look, I just don't need/want to know any more!
                      F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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                      • #12
                        Global Cooling Thread?
                        Starting Date: Dec 18, 2010
                        Starting Weight: 294 pounds
                        Current Weight: 235 pounds
                        Goal Weight: 195 pounds

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by paleo-bunny View Post
                          A saturated bond between carbon and hydrogen does not readily react with any chemical entity other than oxygen via combustion.
                          You meant a saturated bond between two carbon atoms, right? right?
                          Originally posted by kenn View Post
                          Global Cooling Thread?
                          Surely you mean the end of the current inter-glacial period?
                          Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                          Griff's cholesterol primer
                          5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                          Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                          TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                          bloodorchid is always right

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