Triglycerides vs Cholesterol: Difference and Comparison

The terms ‘Triglycerides’ and ‘Cholesterol’ are the two types of fats present in the human body. Both fats have their respective significance.

Both Triglycerides and Cholesterol are influential health makers that are present in the correct quality in the human body. There are distinct differences between both fats.

When the levels of Triglycerides and Cholesterol are maintained, many health-related disorders can be avoided. Also, Triglycerides and Cholesterol have their functions, even though they fall under the category of fats.

Key Takeaways

  1. Triglycerides store excess calories as a source of energy, while cholesterol is involved in hormone production and cell membrane formation.
  2. High triglyceride levels increase the risk of heart disease, whereas high and low cholesterol levels can have negative health implications.
  3. Both triglycerides and cholesterol are lipids that require lipoproteins for transportation through the bloodstream.

Triglycerides vs Cholesterol

The difference between Triglycerides and Cholesterol is that they are distinctly different from each other in terms of their respective functions. Triglycerides are a type of fat that converts the fat received from food into energy. It flows in the blood of the human body. On the other hand, Cholesterol is the fat that is produced by the liver. It helps in several functions, such as it produces hormones, helping in food digestion, and also it generates Vitamin D in the body.

Triglycerides vs Cholesterol
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Triglycerides are the fats that are present in the body. It is produced with the help of the food that we digest, and later this food is converted into energy that flows in the body. Hence, Triglycerides are the fat that produces energy.

Triglycerides are mainly subdivided into two types. Even though Triglycerides produce energy, a too high a level of Triglycerides might be dangerous for health sometimes. The normal level of Triglycerides ranges between lower than 150 mg/dL.

On the other hand, Cholesterol is also a fat that is present in the human body. The liver releases cholesterol. Cholesterol helps in various functions that are essential for the human body.

It generates hormones, helps digest the good, and generates Vitamin D. Cholesterol is further divided into two types.

Sometimes, when the Cholesterol level increases from the normal range of 199 mg/dL or lower, then it can cause some heart-related diseases.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonTriglyceridesCholesterol
DefinitionTriglycerides are fatty, waxy substances that produce energy for the body with the help of the food that they consume and further flow through the blood to provide energy. Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance that is released by the liver and further helps in various other vital functions of the human body.
Main Function Triglyceride’s primary function is to produce energy for the human body.Cholesterol’s main function is to help in the process of digestion, generate hormones, and it also helps in the production of Vitamin D.
Structure Triglycerides are made up of a structure that joins three fatty acid chains, and the final structure is known as a glycerol molecule.Cholesterol has a structure of a Steroid, which is made up of four fused hydrogen rings.
TypesThere are mainly two types of triglycerides: saturated triglycerides and unsaturated triglycerides. There are mainly two types of cholesterol: good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.
Chemical FormulaThe chemical formula of Triglycerides is C⁶H⁸O⁶.The chemical formula of Cholesterol is C²⁷H⁴⁶O.
Energy Source Triglycerides work as a source of energy in the human body.Cholesterol does not work as a source of energy in the human body.
Other Dangerous Health-Related ConditionsIf the level of Triglycerides increases, it can lead to various dangerous health-related conditions such as Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, stroke, thyroid condition, inflammation in the pancreas, etc. If the level of Cholesterol increases, it can lead to various health-related conditions such as heart attacks or heart-related diseases.
Variations in the Ranges of the Respective FatTriglycerides have various ranges from high to low, and they are-
normal: lower than 150 mg/dL
borderline: 151-199 mg/dL
high: over 200mg/dL
very high: over 500 mg/dL
Cholesterol has various ranges from high to low, and they are-
normal: 199mg/dL or lower
borderline: 200-239 mg/dL
high: 240 mg/dL

What is Triglycerides?

The fatty substances that flow through the blood and provide us energy from the food we consume are known as Triglycerides. The main feature or aim of Triglycerides is only to provide energy.

Without energy, the human body can not compete with anything, as it provides strength to the body. Triglycerides are made up of a structure that joins three fatty acid chains, and the final structure is known as a glycerol molecule.

Triglycerides are also present in some edible substances such as butter, oils, and kinds of margarine.

When too much intake of sugary kinds of stuff and alcohol is taken by a person, in the initial stage, it is turned into Triglycerides, but later, it is stored in the fat cells.

The chemical formula of Triglycerides is C⁶H⁸O⁶. Triglycerides also involve some other affecting factors such as diet, physical inactivity, diabetes, age, pregnancy, etc.

It is divided into two types: saturated triglycerides and unsaturated triglycerides. Saturated Triglycerides capture energy for future usage.

On the other hand, unsaturated triglycerides try to upgrade the cholesterol level, it also stabilizes heart rhythms, etc.

If the level of Triglycerides increases, it can lead to various dangerous health-related conditions such as Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, stroke, thyroid condition, inflammation in the pancreas, etc.

Therefore, one should get yearly or alternate-year testing of Triglycerides. The normal level of Triglycerides ranges from 199 mg/dL or lower.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that is released by the liver. It helps in various activities of the human body. It helps in digestion, improves the nervous system, production of various hormones, and also helps in the production of Vitamin D.

Maintenance of Cholesterol in the human body is very important, as it is associated with everyday activities. The chemical formula of Cholesterol is C²⁷H⁴⁶O. Cholesterol is also present in various food products and is consumed by people daily.

Cholesterol has a structure of a Steroid, which is made up of four fused hydrogen rings. Cholesterol is subdivided into two types.

They are- High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), also known as good cholesterol, and on the other, Low-Density Lipoprotein or bad cholesterol.

Good cholesterol is required to function the various health-related activities and disposes of waste material.

On the other hand, Bad cholesterol is the cholesterol that builds the walls of the blood and further blocks them. Hence normal activities can not be processed.

If the level of Cholesterol increases, then it can lead to various health-related conditions such as heart attacks or any heart-related diseases.

To control the high level of Cholesterol, one should religiously follow some steps such as maintaining their diet, physical exercises, and medication, and also, one should keep checking their cholesterol level.

Main Differences Between Triglycerides and Cholesterol

  1. Triglycerides are fatty, waxy substances that produce energy for the body with the help of the food they consume and further flow through the blood to provide energy. On the other hand, Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance that is released by the liver and further helps in various other important functions of the human body.
  2. Triglyceride’s primary function is to produce energy for the human body. On the other hand, Cholesterol’s primary function is to help in the process of digestion, generate hormones, and also helps in the production of Vitamin D.
  3. Triglycerides are made up of a structure that joins three fatty acid chains, and the final structure is known as a glycerol molecule. On the other hand, Cholesterol has a structure of a Steroid, which is made up of four fused hydrogen rings.
  4. There are mainly two types of triglycerides: saturated triglycerides and unsaturated triglycerides. On the other hand, There are mainly two types of cholesterol: good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.
  5. The chemical formula of Triglycerides is C⁶H⁸O⁶. On the other hand, The chemical formula of Cholesterol is C²⁷H⁴⁶O.
  6. Triglycerides work as a source of energy in the human body. On the other hand, Cholesterol does not work as a source of energy in the human body.
  7. If the level of Triglycerides increases, it can lead to various dangerous health-related conditions such as Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, stroke, thyroid condition, inflammation in the pancreas, etc. On the other hand, If the level of Cholesterol increases, then it can lead to various health-related conditions such as heart attacks or any heart-related diseases.
  8. Triglycerides have various ranges from high to low, and they are- normal: lower than 150 mg/dL, borderline: 151-199 mg/dL, high: over 200mg/dL, and very high: over 500 mg/dL. On the other hand, Cholesterol has various ranges from high to low, and they are- normal: 199mg/dL or lower, borderline: 200-239 mg/dL, and high: 240 mg/dL.
Difference Between Triglycerides and Cholesterol
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673672907386
  2. https://academic.oup.com/clinchem/article-abstract/50/7/1113/5639904

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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