What are vegetable oils and fats ?

Every day, we eat fats and oils. As dressing in our salads. To cook vegetables, meat or fish. As an ingredient in our cakes. As an ingredient of so many food products.

“Oil”, “fat” or “lipid” are all different names for the same thing. Oils and fats can come from seeds, nuts, kernels or fruits (e.g. sunflower, rapeseed, palm, etc.) or from animals (beef, pig, goose, chicken, fish, etc.).

Composed of different fatty acids in different proportions

Oils and fats vary in their fatty acid composition, which results in differing nutritional properties. Fatty acids are essential building blocks of cell membranes. The exact fatty acids composition in vegetable oils and fats depends on the natural botanical origin. Vegetable oils and fats also contain other components such as fat-soluble vitamins, notably vitamin E.

Oils and fats are always a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, but in different proportions depending on their origin.

The fatty acids are:

■ Unsaturated fatty acids, which are divided into

- Polyunsaturates (also referred to as “PUFA”), including Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
- Mono-unsaturates (also referred to as “MUFA”)

■ Saturates (also referred to as “SAFA”)

■ Trans (also referred to as “TFA”)

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Typical Fatty Acid composition of vegetable oils and fats

* Figures based on average market value. There may be natural variations inherent to each botanical origin and depending on their geographical origin. For this reason, PUFA, MUFA and SAFA sum up to 99%.