Composition of palm oil

Comparison of the proportions of saturated and unsaturated fats in palm oils and other vegetable oils
(g/100g oil)

Sources: McCance and Widdowson's The Composition of Foods Integrated Data Set 2019. The Stationery Office. Data for palm kernel oil taken from the Canadian Food Composition Data Base. Both accessed 16/12/201916 Dec 2019.


What is the difference between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids?

Fatty acids consist of chains of carbon atoms linked together rather like a paper chain. Where all of the linkages consist of single bonds they are called saturated but if they contain a double bond linkage they are referred to as unsaturated. Unsaturated fatty acids are further divided into those that contain one (monounsaturated) or two or more (polyunsaturated) double bond linkages. Saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids can be made in the body and are also widely present in both vegetable and animal fats. Certain polyunsaturated fatty acids cannot be made in the body and small amounts need to be supplied in the diet and are called essential fatty acids. The most important essential fatty acids are linoleic acid and linolenic acid, the parent fatty acids of the omega-6 and omega-3 families respectively. Both these essential fatty acids are present in palm oil.

 

Comparison of the vitamin E content of palm oils and other major vegetable oils
(tocopherol equivalents/100g)

Sources: McCance and Widdowson's The Composition of Foods Integrated Data Set 2019. The Stationery Office. Data for palm kernel oil taken from the Canadian Food Composition Data Base. Both access 16/12/2019.

Palm oil compared to other vegetable oils

  Palm
oil
Palm kernel
oil
Coconut
oil
Soybean
oil
Rapeseed
oil
Sunflower
oil
Olive
oil
Slip melting point °C 37 29 25 <4 <4 <4 <4
Colour Pale yellow White White Pale yellow Pale yellow Pale yellow Pale yellow
Odour Neutral Neutral Neutral Neutral Neutral Neutral Neutral
Energy value kcal/100g 899 863 862 899 899 899 899
Saturated fatty acids g/100g 48.0 81.5 86.5 15.6 6.6 12.0 14.3
Unsaturated fatty acids g/100g 46.0 13.0 7.5 80.1 88.6 83.8 81.1
FFA wt% <0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Omega-3 g/100g 0.3 0.0 0.0 7.3 9.6 0.1 0.7
Omega-6 g/100g 10.1 1.6 1.5 51.5 19.7 63.2 7.5
Trans fats g/100g Trace Trace Trace Trace Trace Trace Trace
Cholesterol mg/100g Trace Trace Trace Trace Trace Trace Trace
Total carotenoids mg/kg Trace 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Vitamin E TE/100g 33.1 3.8 0.66 17.2 22.2 49.2 5.1
Vitamin K μg/100g 8.0 24.7 1.0 131.0 113.0 6.3 58.0

Mean values
Composition based on Codex Standards for Fats and Oils from Vegetable Sources (CODEX-STAN 210 - 1999)
Source: McCance and Widdowson's The Composition of Foods Integrated Data Set 2019. The Stationery Office. Accessed 16 Dec 2019 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/composition-of-foods-integrated-dataset-cofid)
Finglas PM, Roe MA, Pinchen HM, Berry R, Church SM, Dodhia KK, Farron Wilson M, Swan G. (2015). McCance and Widdowson's The Composition of Fooods Seventh Summary edition. Cambridge, Royal Socieyt of Chemistry.
Data for palm kernel oil taken from Canadian Food Composition Data Base (https://food-nutrition.canada.ca/cnf-fce/search-rechercher.do;jsessionid=B71D6F2DDB1BBBFA0516715C001B8095)
Abbreviations: FFA = free fatty acids, TE = tocopherol equivalents

 

Comparison of different palm oil fractions

  Crude palm
oil
Refined palm
oil
Palm
olein
Palm
stearin
Palm kernel
oil
Slip melting point °C 36.7
(33.9 to 39.2)
36.7
(33.9 to 39.2)
19.2 to 23.5 46.6 to 53.8 28 to 30
Viscosity mPA at 35°C 45 45 43 - 43
Density g/ml 0.89 to 0.89 0.89 to 0.89 0.90 to 0.92 0.88 to 0.89 0.89 to 0.91
Viscosity mPA at 35°C 45 45 43 - 43
Colour Red Pale yellow Pale yellow White White
Odour Over-ripe
mushroom
Neutral Neutral Neutral Neutral
Energy value kcal/100g 899 899 899 899 863
Saturated fatty acids g/100g 48 48 43 62 81.5
Unsaturated fatty acids g/100g 46 46 55 24 13
Acid value mg KOH/g oil 190 to 209 194 to 202 194 to 202 193 to 205 230 to 254
FFA wt% 2.5 to 5 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Omega-3 wt% ND to 0.5 0.1 to 0.6 ND to 0.6 ND to 0.3 ND to 0.2
Omega-6 wt% 9.0 to 12.0 9.0 to 12.0 10.0 to 13.5 3.0 to 10.0 1.0 to 3.5
Trans fats g/100g 0 Trace Trace Trace Trace
Cholesterol mg/100g Trace Trace Trace Trace Trace
Total carotenoids mg/kg 581 Trace Trace Trace 0
Tocopherols and tocotrienols mg/kg 843
(708 to 1141)
581
(378 to 890)
716
(559 to 902)
365
(348 to 381)
ND to 260
    • Alpha-tocopherol 185 128 158 80 ND to 44
    • Alpha-tocotrienol 169 116 143 73 ND
    • Gamma-tocotrienol 388 267 329 168 ND to 60
    • Delta-tocotrienol 101 70 86 44 ND

Mean values with ranges
Composition based on Codex Standards for Fats and Oils from Vegetable Sources (CODEX-STAN 210 - 1999) (http://www.fao.org/3/y2774e/y2774e04.htm)
Tocopherol and tocotriencol content based on ABDUL GAPOR Mohd Top. Content of vitamin E in palm oil and its antioxidant activity. Palm Oil Development (1990) No 12, 25-27 (http://palmoilis.mpob.gov.my/publications/POD/pod12-4.pdf)
Abbreviations: FFA = free fatty acids, ND = not detected