Differences between vegetable oils and vegetable fats

What are the oils and fats of plant origin?

What are vegetable oils?

Vegetable oils are the fat extraction that is obtained from the pressing of fruits with a high content of unsaturated fats, such as the fruit of the olive tree, that is, the olive (where olive oil is obtained), sunflower seed (oil of sunflower), moringa seeds (moringa oil) or walnuts (walnut oil).

What are vegetable oils like?

Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is a type of vegetable oil, obtained from sunflower seeds.

Vegetable oils have the characteristic that they are liquid at room temperature. This is because the type of fats they contain have an unsaturated structure, therefore they are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Among these types of fats are a type of fats called omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids.

These types of fats are healthy, provided they come from quality oils and healthy foods.

Which foods are rich in vegetable oils?

They are  many foods rich in vegetable oils such as: walnuts, olives, almonds, hazelnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. Vegetable oils can be extracted from all these foods.

What are vegetable fats?

Vegetable fats are also a fat extraction, in this case of fruits with high saturated fat content. In the vegetable kingdom there are few edible fruits with these characteristics, and mainly coconut oil and palm oil.

What are vegetable fats like?

Vegetable fats have the characteristic that they are solid at room temperature. This is because the type of fats they contain have a saturated structure. These types of fats, in excess, are considered harmful to health, although they are also found, in small quantities, being part of healthy foods.

It should be mentioned that neither fats nor oils of vegetable origin contain cholesterol, since this substance is exclusive to the animal kingdom and will never be found in products derived from plants.

Characteristics and differences between vegetable oils and  vegetable fats

The following image shows the  main characteristics and differences between vegetable oils and vegetable fats.

vegetable oils and vegetable fats
Main differences between vegetable oils and vegetable fats

Which foods are rich  in vegetable fats?

Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a vegetable fat. Since it mainly contains saturated fatty acids, it has a solid consistency at room temperature.

They are foods rich in vegetable fats:

  • Coconut oil
  • Palm oil
  • Shea butter
  • Especially a series of industrial products that contain them: pastries, chocolates, cookies, snacks, breakfast cereals, and more junk food.

The presence of these fats in ultraprocessed products is due to the fact that their solid consistency makes it possible to prepare more resistant preparations with similar characteristics to butter, with a cheaper cost.

What type of fat or oil is margarine?

Sometimes vegetable oils can occur in solid form, as with margarines. In this case, they are  not saturated fats, but oils subjected to hydrogenation, which result in trans fats. These type of fats  are unsaturated but solid at room temperature.

Other times emulsifying additives are added to obtain a product equal to butter but of vegetable origin.

punto rojo More information on vegetable oils

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

25 November, 2021

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