Fatty acids come in a variety of structures and, because of this, create a variety of functions for these lipids. Some fatty acids have a role to play in energy metabolism, some help in lipid storage, cell structure, the physical state of the lipid, and even in food stability. Fatty acid metabolism plays a particularly important role in meeting the energy demands of the heart. It is the primary source of myocardial energy in control conditions. Its role changes dramatically in disease states in the heart, but the pathologic role these fatty acids play depends upon the type of cardiovascular disease and the type of fatty acid. However, no matter how good a food is for one's health, its taste will ultimately become a deciding factor in its influence on human health. No food will provide health benefits if it is not ingested. This review discusses the taste characteristics of culinary oils that contain fatty acids and how these fatty acids affect the performance of the heart during healthy and diseased conditions. The contrasting contributions that different fatty acid molecules have in either promoting cardiac pathologies or protecting the heart from cardiovascular disease is also highlighted in this article.
Keywords: atherosclerosis; bitter taste; fatty acids; heart disease; ischemia; metabolism.