Fatty acids profile

July 07, 2017

Fatty acids profile of Edible Oils and Fats in India

Fats and oils are recognized as essential nutrients in both human and animal diets. They provide the most concentrated source of energy of any foodstuff, supply essential fatty acids (which are precursors for important honnones, the prostaglandins), contribute greatly to the feeling of satiety after eating, are carriers for fat soluble vitamins, and serve to make foods more palatable. Fats and oils are present in varying amounts in many foods. The principal sources of fat in the diet are vegetable fats and oils. meats, dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts. Most vegetables and fruits consumed as such contain only small amounts of fat. 

Fatty acids are the building blocks of lipids and generally comprise 90% of the fats in foods. These are compounds that are of interest when reporting lipid content labeling of fats and Oils. Saturated fatty acids - hydrocarbon chains with single bonds between each of carbon atoms - found primarily in products derived from animal sources (meat, dairy products) tend to raise the levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. Unsaturated fatty acids - characterized by one (monounsaturated) or more (polyunsaturated) double bonds in the carbon chain - are found mostly in plants and sea food. Since the carbons are double-bonded to each other, there are fewer bonds available for hydrogen, so there are fewer hydrogen atoms, hence "unsaturated". Cis and trans are terms that refer to the arrangement of chains of carbon atoms across the double bond. In the cis arrangement, the chains are on the same side of the double bond, resulting in a kinked geometry. In the trans arrangement, the chains are on opposite sides of the double bond, and the chain is straight overall. 

Typically, common vegetable oils, including soybean, sunflower, safflower, mustard, olive, rice bran, sesame are low in saturated fats and the double bonds within unsaturated acids are in the cis configuration. To improve their oxidative stability and to increase their melting points, vegetable oils are hydrogenated. The process of hydrogenation is intended to add hydrogen atoms to cis­unsaturated fats, eliminating a double bond and making them more saturated. Full hydrogenation would produce exclusively saturated fatty acids that are too waxy and solid to use in food production. Consequently, the process used by the industry does not eliminate all of the double...

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