What is the difference between vegetable and animal fats?

What is the difference between vegetable and animal fats?

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I often hear from many people saying to waiters - "Please, don't put oil to salad". They probably believe the fat from vegetables has the same impact on the weight as an "animal" fat (meat, eggs, butter).

My questions are -

  1. Are these two types of fat have equal influence considering their converting to fat tissue in humans?

  2. What are the pathways for conversion of vegetable oil fats to adipose tissue storage, in humans?

  3. If one eats $X$ grams of either saturated or unsaturated fats, will they (in equal conditions) gain equal weight ($Y$ grams) in both the cases ?

There is a subtle difference between oils and fats- oils are generally unsaturated (Carbon-Carbon double bonds) whereas fats are saturated (all single bonds).

Are these two types of fat have equal influence considering their converting to fat tissue in humans?

No. There are some kinds of fatty acids that are synthesized only by plants (Essential fatty acids). However, these can be obtained indirectly from animal sources such as fish.

Fats have multiple roles- not just storage. They are also critical for making up the cell membrane.

What are the converting pathways for vegetable oil fats to adipose tissue in humans?

The fatty acids in oils are absorbed in the intestine and esterified (wit glycerol) to form triglycerides. Then, they are incoporated in lipoprotein complexes. There are different types of lipoproteins- VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein), LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) and HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) which have different sizes and compositions.

When lipoprotein comes in contact with lipoprotein lipase in capillaries, the free fatty acids are liberated from trigycerides, which is taken up by adipose tissue.

The fats stored in adipose tissue depends on diet. This has been studied in rabbit but similar principles may apply to humans too. Fats can also be synthesized in the body. It is always saturated fat and is synthesized by the fatty acid synthase complex. The starting substance is Acetyl-CoA which is produced during catabolism of both carbohydrates and fats.

if one eat Y of 2 meal if saturated and unsaturated fats, he/she (in equal conditions) will gain X gram if they were saturated fat and Z in a case of unsaturated fats?

By principles of mass balance, if both have equal rates of absorption and degradation then there will be equal gain. According to this study, absorption rate of unsaturated fats is higher. In that case if you eat $X$ grams of both types then the absorbed amount should be $Y_{sat}$ < $Y_{unsat}$

I am not sure about the degradation rates but I think it is higher for saturated fats because unsaturated has to be reduced to saturated before metabolizing via $eta$-oxidation. Determining the exact steady state values will be tricky without a mathematical model.

NOTE: Dont confuse this with body weight gain (in the sense of obesity); it is a complex phenomenon. You have to consider a lot of things when predicting weight gain.

The Brain Needs Animal Fat

When you think of animal fat, what comes to mind? Unsightly blobs of cellulite? Artery-clogging strips of gristle to be trimmed off your steak and tossed into the trash? Or a sophisticated substance that contains within it the secret to human intelligence?

Fun facts about fat

We think of fat as bad—the less of it we eat, and the less of it we carry on our bodies, the better—but this isn’t the right way to think about it. Fat is not just for insulation and energy storage, it’s also for nutrient absorption, cell signaling, immune function, and many other critical processes. Many people think the main difference between plant and animal fats is that animal-sourced foods contain more saturated fat, but here are a few fun, fatty facts that may surprise you:

  • All whole plant and animal foods naturally contain a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fats.
  • Some plant foods are higher in saturated fat than animal foods, with coconut oil topping the charts at 90 percent saturated fat. That’s more than twice the saturated fat found in beef fat (tallow).
  • The primary type of fat found in pork is a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) called oleic acid, the same fat found in olive oil.

For decades now, we’ve been told to avoid saturated fats—particularly those from animal foods—and to consume “heart-healthy,” cholesterol-free fats from plant foods such as seeds, nuts, and olives. Public health officials say these plant fats are important because they contain two essential PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) that the human body can't manufacture:

  • The essential dietary omega-3 PUFA is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA for short)
  • The essential dietary omega-6 PUFA is called linoleic acid (LA for short)

What often goes unsaid is that both ALA and LA are found in a wide variety of both plant and animal foods, so it is rather easy to obtain both of these PUFAs regardless of your dietary preferences, so long as you include enough fat in your diet.

But here’s the rub: Our bodies really aren’t looking for ALA and LA they’re looking for something better. ALA and LA are considered “parent” omegas, because they are used to manufacture the omegas we actually need: EPA, DHA, and ARA—none of which exist in plant foods.

EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is an omega-3 PUFA that serves primarily anti-inflammatory and healing functions.

ARA (arachidonic acid) is an omega-6 often thought of as a “bad” fatty acid, because it promotes inflammation and is only found in animal foods (and algae). Yet ARA shoulders countless other responsibilities, and even promotes healing. Arachidonic acid recently stepped into my office for a long-overdue therapy session [links to my Psychology Today post entitled Do You Have Arachiphobia?, which takes you inside the tortured mind of this beneficial molecule and explains why there's no need to fear consuming it.

But what about DHA? So glad you asked…

Introducing DHA

Our brains are extremely rich in fat. About two-thirds of the human brain is fat, and a full 20 percent of that fat is a very special omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexanoic acid, or DHA.

DHA is an ancient molecule so useful to us and our fellow vertebrates (creatures with backbones) that it has remained unchanged for more than 500 million years of evolution. What makes this particular PUFA so irreplaceable?

DHA’s job description is a lengthy one. Among many other functions, DHA participates in the formation of myelin, the white matter that insulates our brain circuits. It also helps maintain the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, which keeps the brain safe from unwanted outside influences.

Perhaps most importantly, DHA is critical to the development of the human cortex—the part of the brain responsible for higher-order thinking. Without DHA, the highly sophisticated connections necessary for sustained attention, decision-making, and complex problem-solving do not form properly. It has been hypothesized that without DHA, consciousness and symbolic thinking—hallmarks of the human race—would be impossible.

DHA plays a “unique and indispensable role” in the “neural signaling essential for higher intelligence.” —Simon Dyall PhD, Lipid Research Scientist Bournemouth University, UK

Professor Michael Crawford, a pioneering British scientist who has been studying essential fatty acids for 50 years, theorizes that DHA’s special configuration lends it unique quantum mechanical properties that allow it to buffer electron flow. This may explain why we find it in places throughout the brain and body where electricity is important: synapses where brain cell signaling takes place mitochondria, where the electron transport chain is busy turning food into stored energy and the retina of the eye, where photons of sunlight are transformed into electrical information.

This is a truly miraculous molecule. Plants don’t have it, because plants don’t need it.

Baby, have we got a molecule for you…

The most rapid phase of development of the infant cortex takes place between the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy and age 2. If enough DHA isn’t available to the baby during this critical 27-month window, it is unclear whether the consequences can be completely undone. In fact we do see lower levels of DHA in people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, including those which manifest early in life, such as autistic spectrum disorders and ADHD.

“Similar to children and adolescents born preterm, patients with ADHD, mood disorders, and psychotic disorders also exhibit decreased frontal white matter tract integrity and reduced functional connectivity within cortical networks. Together these findings support the hypothesis that perinatal deficits in DHA accrual may contribute to diminished cortical circuit development observed in major psychiatric disorders.” [McNamara RK 2015]

Plant foods contain absolutely no DHA

For those who choose vegan diets, it is important to know that plant foods contain no DHA. The omega-3 fatty acid found in plant foods like flax, walnut, and chia is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Unfortunately, it appears to be rather difficult for the adult human body to make DHA out of ALA, with most studies finding a conversion rate of less than 10 percent:

Note that quite a few studies find a conversion rate of 0 percent.

Whether this pathway can generate adequate amounts of DHA in all adults under all circumstances continues to be a topic of debate. Some scientists have advocated that DHA, rather than ALA, should be officially considered the essential omega-3 fatty acid. Even vocal advocates of plant-based diets, such as the authors of the recent EAT-Lancet report, acknowledge that it is unclear how much ALA one needs to consume to fulfill DHA requirements.

Indeed, it appears that the fewer animal foods we eat, the lower our DHA levels tend to be:

However, when it comes to children younger than 2 years old, the science is clear that this conversion pathway cannot and should not be relied upon to keep pace with the DHA demands of the rapidly growing body and brain. Therefore, most experts agree that caretakers should provide infants and very young children with dietary or supplemental sources of DHA, as ALA alone is not sufficient to support healthy infant development.

DHA status and intake recommendations are based on blood levels, not brain levels. Unfortunately there is no way to measure brain DHA levels in living human beings, and it’s unclear whether blood levels reflect brain levels.

Bearing this in mind, it has been estimated that as many as 80 percent of Americans have suboptimal blood levels of DHA.

DHA: Don’t leave home without it

Include animal-sourced foods in your diet if you can

The USDA has not established specific DHA intake targets for the general population instead it recommends everyone consume at least eight ounces of seafood per week. The easiest way to obtain DHA is to include some fatty fish in your diet, but as you can see from the table below, there are other options.

Minimize consumption of vegetable oils

Nearly all processed foods, prepared hot foods, packaged snacks, and convenience foods are made with refined vegetable oils, such as soybean or sunflower oil. Most vegetable oils are extremely, unnaturally high in LA (linoleic acid), an omega-6 fatty acid that reduces the production and effectiveness of DHA within your body. Excess linoleic acid can tilt your immune system too far towards inflammation and away from healing, so there are many reasons to minimize your consumption of vegetable oils. Your best plant oil choices are olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or red palm oil. If you must include refined vegetable oil, canola oil and palm kernel oil are low in linoleic acid. Lowering your vegetable oil intake can increase the availability of DHA in your body, decreasing your need for dietary and/or supplemental DHA. The presence of high amounts of linoleic acid in the typical modern diet may help to explain why so many people appear to have low DHA levels despite the fact that most people do include animal foods in their diet already.

If you choose a plant-based diet, supplement properly

Thankfully, vegetarian and vegan-friendly DHA supplements extracted from algae are available. [Algae are neither plants nor animals . . . discuss!] These supplements are more expensive and contain lower concentrations of DHA than fish or krill oil supplements (meaning higher doses are recommended), but may be important for maintaining healthy DHA levels, particularly in mothers and babies during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Directly consuming seaweed and other forms of edible algae instead of taking algae oil extracts is unreliable, because it's unclear whether the DHA within these fibrous foods can be released and absorbed by the human body in other words, the DHA in edible algae may not be bioavailable. All baby formula in the U.S. is supplemented with DHA already, in an effort to mirror human mother's milk, which naturally contains DHA. If weaning your child before age 2, be sure to include DHA in your child’s diet as food or supplements.

If you have psychiatric symptoms, consider supplementation

There have been numerous clinical trials of omega-3 supplements in the management of psychiatric disorders. You may be surprised to hear that most of these studies have generated only weak or mixed results. There are many possible reasons for this, not the least of which may be that the amount of linoleic acid in the diet was not taken into consideration. In other words, taking a decent dose of omega-3s without also lowering your linoleic acid consumption (by avoiding vegetable oils) may not be very helpful. However, supplementation is widely viewed as safe, and some studies noted modest benefits at doses of (combined EPA+DHA) of 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day, particularly for people with depression.

Unanswered questions

I titled this post "The Brain Needs Animal Fat," because although DHA does exist in algae, algae are not plants, and we don't know if we can access the DHA within edible algae without special extraction methods. Prior to the manufacturing of algae-derived supplements (which only became available recently), the only pre-formed DHA naturally bioavailable to everyone would have come from animal foods. For those who choose a vegan diet, I fully support and recommend algae-based supplements.

It is difficult to be sure precisely how much DHA we need, and both conversion rates and availability can vary significantly depending on age, gender, genetics, and dietary composition.

There are many questions left unanswered that go beyond the scope of this post and may deserve a follow-up post. For example, if most land animals are extremely low in DHA, does that mean everyone needs to eat seafood? Are wild land animal foods higher in DHA than standard land animal foods we find in the grocery store? How do adults choosing plant-based diets know whether they can rely on their ALA conversion pathway? Could eliminating processed foods and vegetable oils completely eliminate the apparent requirement for animal-sourced DHA (or algae oil supplementation)? Does eating a low-carbohydrate diet affect the conversion rate from ALA to DHA? Should you get tested for omega-3 deficiencies, and if so, how? Are there any disadvantages to obtaining DHA from supplements as opposed to obtaining them from animal foods?

The bottom line about DHA

Until next time, minimizing refined vegetable oils and other processed foods, and either including some animal foods in the diet or supplementing appropriately, seem to be reasonable options that likely minimize our risk.

One thing is clear. DHA is a wondrous fatty acid that the human body cannot function without, and it deserves our admiration and respect. While it is important for all of us, when it comes to building the brains of the future, it is precious and irreplaceable.

Difference between Fats and Oils

Fats and oils are very important for every human body. It is mainly essential for daily dietary plan. Fats and oils are totally different from each other. In simple terms, fats are animal fats whereas oils are vegetable oils. The other difference is fats tend to be solids at room temperature on the other hand, oils tend to be liquid at room temperature. Remember, on the daily basis the two terms can be used interchangeably because both, fats and oils contain 9 calories per grams.

Fats play an important part in chemical and metabolic functions. Fats are broken down in a human body by enzymes called lipases, which are produced in the pancreas. Human bodies also have an adipose tissue, which is known as a fat depot and is a loose connective tissue composed of adipocytes. This tissue is compose of roughly 80% fat and is located beneath the skin, around internal organs, in bone marrow and in breast tissue. The main role of this tissue is to store energy in the form of lipids. An excess of this tissue causes obesity in humans.

The two main types of fats are Saturated and Unsaturated. Almost all foods, butter, margarine and oils, contains a mixture of fats. The food is called high in saturated or unsaturated when one type is often present in higher in amounts.

All oils are blends of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated oils (or fats). Among all these types, there are two basic types of “good” food oil. Those are the ‘monounsaturated’ fat and ‘polyunsaturated’ fat. These oils act to search artery-clogging cholesterol from the bloodstream, carrying it to the liver for processing. Healthy oils generally contain high levels of unsaturation, meaning carbon-carbon double bonds.

  • Sources of monounsaturated oil include: Olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil. Of these, peanut is cooking oil favored for its good thermal stability, which makes it ideal for frying and other high temperature applications.
  • Sources of polyunsaturated fats include: Cold water fish (i.e. salmon, tuna), whole wheat, and sunflower oil. These are good sources of omega-3 fats, which reduced inflammation, but are more suitable for low temperature uses like salad dressing and dipping sauces.

Oils and fats are sub-groups of lipids, and are known as triglycerides. The term ‘lipid’ is used to refer to fat at both liquid and solid state, in a medical or biochemical context. Thus, with everyone these days trying to become skinny, these important nutrients have started to become cut down upon, which isn’t always a good thing. These nutrients are important in the body as an energy source, which helps the body perform its daily functions.

Comparison between Fats and Oils:

Fats are the fatty acid esters of glycerol and are the primary energy depots of animals.

Oils act to search artery-clogging cholesterol from the bloodstream, carrying it to the liver for processing.

Middle English, from Old English fǣtt, past participle of fǣtan to cram akin to Old High German feizit fat

Middle English oile, from Anglo-French, from Latin oleum olive oil, from Greek elaion, from elaia olive

Core Difference between Plant and Animal Oils in Point Form

  1. Animal fats are saturated fatty acids while plant fats are unsaturated fatty acids
  2. Examples of animal fats are butter and beef fats while plant fats are coconut oil and olive oil
  3. Animal fats are solid at room temperature while plant fats are liquid at room temperature
  4. Iodine number of plant fats is higher than those of animal fats
  5. Oxidative rancidity of animals fats is relatively high while that of plant fats is relatively less
  6. Plant fats are stored in fruits and seeds while animal fats are stored in the liver and beneath the skin
  7. The Reichert meissl number of animal fats is higher than that of plant fats
  8. Animal fats are stored by specialized cells known as adipocytes which are absent in plants.

Difference Between Saturated Fats and Unsaturated Fats

Usually the fats are known as the food type that makes you obese or rises your cholesterol level. Actually they are more notorious than damaging, they are important constitute of body and their adequate intake is always necessary. Fats can mainly be divided into two types, saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fat is the type of fat in which fatty acids form single bonds, whereas unsaturated fat is the type of fat in which there is one or more double bond in the fatty acid food chain. Saturated fat, and trans fat intake raises your blood cholesterol level, whereas unsaturated fats (Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) can help your improve your LDL cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, commonly referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Comparison Chart

Saturated FatUnsaturated Fat
BondSaturated fat is the type of fat in which fatty acids form single bonds.Unsaturated fat is the type of fat in which there is one or more double bond in the fatty acid food chain.
Physical State at Room TemperatureSolidLiquid
SourcesAnimal products such as beef, lamb, pork poultry with skin, butter, cream, cheese and other dairy products.Fishes such as salmon, trout and herring, avocados, olives, walnuts and liquid vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, safflower, canola, olive and sunflower.
Recommendation for Healthy PeopleUpto 10% of total calories per day from the saturated fatsUpto 30% of total calories from unsaturated fats per day.
For Heart PatientsNoYes

What is Saturated Fat?

Saturated fat is the type of fat in which fatty acids form single bonds. As saturated fats have strong bonds in between them they occur as solid at room temperature. A fat is composed up of two smaller molecules: monoglyceride and fatty acids. Long chains of carbon (C) atoms get combine to form the saturated fat. Generally all animal fats are said to be saturated fats, and all the fats of plants and fishes are called unsaturated fats. Although its exactly not the very same as as coconut oil and palm kernel oil derived from the plants are rich in saturated fat. The prominent sources of saturated fats are taken from the animal products such as beef, lamb, pork poultry with skin, butter, cream, cheese and other dairy products. Those who want to lower their cholesterol they are recommended to avoid saturated and trans fat or they are advised to reduce the saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total daily calories. On the other hand, healthy people are asked to take up to 10% of total calories per day from the saturated fats.

What is Unsaturated Fat?

Unsaturated fat is the type of fat in which fatty acid chain forms one or more than one double bond. A fat molecule containing one double bond is called monounsaturated whereas the fat molecule containing more than one double bond is called polyunsaturated. As the inter molecular forces are weaken in between these bonds as compare to the saturated fat bonds, they exist as liquid at the room temperature. When unsaturated fats are exposed to atmosphere they have very high chance of rancidity. The one suffering from heart disease is often recommended to cut off trans and saturated fat and replace it by the unsaturated fats or oils. The major sources of unsaturated fats are fishes such as salmon, trout and herring, avocados, olives, walnuts and liquid vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, safflower, canola, olive and sunflower. A healthy person can intake upto 30% of total calories from unsaturated fats per day.

Saturated Fats vs. Unsaturated Fats

  • Saturated fat is the type of fat in which fatty acids form single bonds, whereas unsaturated fat is the type of fat in which there is one or more double bond in the fatty acid food chain.
  • Saturated fats exist as solid at room temperature, while unsaturated fats appear as liquid at room temperatures.
  • Major sources of saturated fats are: Animal products such as beef, lamb, pork poultry with skin, butter, cream, cheese and other dairy products. On the other hand, major sources of unsaturated fats are: fishes such as salmon, trout and herring, avocados, olives, walnuts and liquid vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, safflower, canola, olive and sunflower.
  • Healthy person is asked to take upto 10% of total calories per day from the saturated fats, whereas A healthy person can intake upto 30% of total calories from unsaturated fats per day.
  • The one suffering from heart disease is often recommended to cut off trans and saturated fat and replace it by the unsaturated fats or oils.

Comparison Video

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

1. Saturated fats

There has been plenty of negative press around saturated fats, but they are incredibly important to the body. They allow for good levels of bone density, maintain hormone levels, and ensure that your immune system is in tip top shape. Countless studies have proven that saturated fats are a necessary part of a diet and that they are not linked to heart disease in any way at all!

There is also a particular type of saturated fat that contains medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. These are typically found in coconut oil, but are also found in smaller amounts in palm oil and some kinds of butter. They’re incredibly easy to digest and are well known for being able to pass almost straight away to the liver upon consumption, allowing them to be used for immediate energy.

This makes it the best kind of fat for athletes, and also a great fat burner. Saturated fats also have a high smoke point, making them great for cooking for a ketogenic diet.

Here are some great sources of saturated fats:

• Red meat
• Butter
• Ghee
• Eggs
• Lard
• Cocoa butter
• Cream
• Coconut oil
• Palm oil

Why are animal fats solid yet vegetable oils liquid at room temperature?

All fats have the same basic structure but there are some key chemical differences between solid fats and liquid oils.

Asked by: Marina Paya, Barcelona

Both fats and oils are molecules shaped like a capital E with a glycerol spine and arms made of fatty acid chains.

In animals, the carbon atoms in the fatty acids are saturated with hydrogen atoms. This allows them to lie straight and the molecules will pack neatly into a solid arrangement. In plants, missing hydrogen atoms cause kinks in the fatty acids. This reduces the amount of intermolecular bonding that can occur and keeps the molecules liquid at room temperature.

The reason they have evolved this way is probably due to differences in plant and animal metabolisms.

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Vegetable Oil Vs. Animal Fat

Both vegetable oils and animal fats are staple cooking ingredients in most households. But the nutritional pros and cons of both are always debated upon. Read on to learn what they are made up of and their nutritional analysis.

Both vegetable oils and animal fats are staple cooking ingredients in most households. But the nutritional pros and cons of both are always debated upon. Read on to learn what they are made up of and their nutritional analysis.

The debate between animal and vegetable sources of food has been going on for time immemorial. Holistic and alternative lifestyle pundits advise against animal products and urge the adoption of a completely natural nutritional diet with only plant products. Others maintain that animal foods are not all bad and do have a lot of good nutritional points in their favor, if taken in moderation. Two important foods or materials, which are at the center of such differences in opinion, are vegetable oil and animal fat. Both are commonly used ingredients in cooking and other household spheres. The virtues and vices of either are always heavily debated upon. In this article, we look at both ingredients and compare them for nutrition value in a “vegetable oil vs animal fat” comparison.

What Is Vegetable Oil?

Oils or fats which are obtained solely from plant or vegetable sources are vegetable oils. In the solid form, they are called fats, while in the liquid form, they are called oils. Their molecular structure is composed of large molecules called triglycerides, monoglycerides and diglycerides and lipids. You can extract oil by crushing the seeds or fruit of the plant. Certain oils like herb oils are extracted from the leaves or the plant itself.

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There are many diverse uses of vegetable oil. Some oils are edible and can be used as cooking oils. Examples would be corn oil, safflower oil or soybean oils. These oils give off a mild scent or aroma and do not influence the flavor of the food being cooked, making them ideal cooking oils. Such oils are also capable of withstanding high temperatures. Vegetables oils are also used in various stages of product manufacturing. Linseed and soy oils are used in varnishes and oil-paints as binding agents. They also used in the production of cosmetics and soaps. A recent use of vegetable oil as a fuel instead of traditional mineral fuels, is quickly gaining popularity and intensive research is being conducted in this sphere.

What Is Animal Fat?

Fat or grease which is obtained from animal sources and materials like tissues and bones. Some examples are:

  • Lard – pig fat obtained from various parts of the pig’s body
  • Poultry fat – fat obtained from chicken, duck or goose
  • Tallow – beef or lamb fat
  • Fish oil

Animal fat is primarily made up of saturated and monounsaturated fats and glycerol.

Vegetable Oil Vs. Animal Fat

Due to their different chemical fats, vegetable oil has a much lower saturated fat content as compared to animal fat. Saturated fats are good for you, in moderation. Too much intake however, increases the risk of cholesterol and heart disease. So here one cannot penalize animal fats for being high in saturated fats, rather over-consumption is the issue at hand. Vegetable oils have Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are very beneficial for human health. They also contain oleic acid and monounsaturated fatty acids. Such a blend of fatty acids increase HDL or necessary cholesterol levels in the body.

The real villain here is a product derived from vegetable oils called partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Their chemical make up is altered by the hydrogenation procedure, so they have trans-fats instead of saturated or unsaturated fats. Trans fats are present in animal fats at a very small content level. But processed and fast food makers predominantly use partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in their products. Since these are the most popular foods consumed, the average man can end up consuming a very large amount of trans fat. And herein lies the danger. Trans fats do extra damage, they increase LDL cholesterol levels, which are bad for health, at the same time they reduce necessary cholesterol (HDL) levels in the body. How they result in such a drastic change is still being determined. But irrespective of the cause, it’s difficult to argue with the results. A study of the effect of trans fat on the human body showed that even at a low level of consumption, trans fats can severely increase the risk of heart disease. The risk of contracting other health risks like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and even cancer are also increased.

Below is a nutritional comparison of the various nutrients present in vegetable oil, animal fat and partially hydrogenated oil.

Type of Oil Total Fat (g) Saturated Fats (g) Monounsaturated Fats (g) Cholesterol (mg) Sodium (mg)
Bacon Grease (100g) 100 40 45 95 150
Vegetable Oil (100 g) 100 7 72 0 0
Partially Hydrogenated Soy Oil (100g) 100 18 42 0 0

So what should it be, vegetable oil or animal fats? The verdict is: it is good to consume a balanced amount of both, do not completely replace one with another. Vegetable oils like olive oil and coconut oil are very healthy cooking ingredients. Cut down on your partially hydrogenated oils, which basically means reducing intake of processed foods. There is no lower limit or acceptable range for intake of trans fats, they are bad for you at any level of consumption. So to stay healthy, you need to eat smart and right. Start by checking how much oil you consume daily

What is the difference between vegetable and animal fats? - Biology

Animal Fats include butter, ghee, lard, tallow, and any other fatty substance rendered from animal flesh.

Animal fat is primarily made up of saturated and monounsaturated fats and glycerol.

Animal Fats are rendered from the flesh of animals or, in the case of butter and ghee, separated from the milk fat of said animals.

Fats are solid at room temperature. Fats containing saturated fatty acids.

Vegetable Fats/Oils include the industrial seed oils, soy, canola, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, peanut, etc.

Their molecular structure is composed of large molecules called triglycerides, monoglycerides and diglycerides and lipids.

Vegetable Oils, are mechanically and chemically extracted from commodity grass crops.

Vegetable Oils are liquid at room temperature. These Oils contains unsaturated fatty acids.

Vegetable oil has much lower saturated fat (unsaturated) content as compared to animal fat. This lowered saturated fat in vegetable oils is good to health compared to animal fat which contains high saturated fats.


Sterols (lipids with phenanthrene ring–like structures) are the most abundant steroid in the human diet. Cholesterol is the best known steroid (fat-soluble substance containing a steroid nucleus) and is the precursor of many other substances such as vitamin D, bile acids, sex hormones, and corticosteroid hormones.
An important component of animal tissues, egg yolks, and cell membranes, cholesterol synthesis is partly by dietary intake and partly by biosynthesis from acetyl CoA. Excess cholesterol is stored in arteries and can lead to atherosclerotic plaque formation and cardiovascular disorders. Excretion of cholesterol is through bile acid formation. Plant cells do not contain cholesterol but instead contain other sterols called phytosterols.


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