Cooking oils form an integral part of Indian diet. However, one needs to deal with an array of commonly marketed edible oils asserting a host of health claims. Therefore, right selection of edible oil is extremely important, especially in the Indian context, where cooking methods are completely different form the West.
Edible oils have several fatty acids, which can be grouped into three classes; saturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA), further subdivided into omega 6 & omega 3 fatty acid, and trans fatty acids (TFA), which are produced by hydrogenation of vegetable oils (Vanaspati ghee).
These are compounds that contain a no double bond group with a long hydrocarbon chain consisting of carbon (C) and hydrogen (H) atoms.
Saturated fatty acid tails are straight so fat molecules with fully saturated tails that can be packed tightly against one another. This tight packing results in fats that are solid at room temperature. For instance, most of the fat in butter is saturated fat.
Examples of saturated fats:
Butyric acid - milk, butter, cheese.
Lauric acid - coconut oil, palm oil.
Myristic acid - coconut oil, palm oil and butterfat.
Palmitic acid - meat, palm oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, butter, cheese and other dairy products.
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