Fats & Oils

The term fats have always caused a stir of concern among human minds for its role in the prevalence of lifestyle diseases. But the myth that all fats and oils are bad for health does not stand true, as the fact remains that fats is a part of our food groups, and is required in some quantity for our body to function properly. Not all fats are bad for health and some of them have nutritional value as well.

Fats may be classified as visible fat and invisible fat. Meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, nuts, seeds and eggs contain invisible fat. From these products visible fats is made which include, lard, cooking oils, salad oils, margarine and butter. The difference between fats and oils are its melting points and nature of state at room temperature. Fats have a high melting point and are solid at room temperature whereas, oils have low melting point and are liquid at room temperature. Some of the specific fats and oils include, lard, butter, margarine, cottonseeds oil, groundnut oil, soyabean oil, olive oil, rice bran oil, sesame oil, mustard oil, palm oil etc.

Nutritive value of fats & oils

  • They are a source of and are required for the synthesis of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
  • They reduce bulk in the diet
  • They provide essential fatty acids such as MUFA (Monounsaturated fatty acids) and PUFA (Polyunsaturated fatty acids).
  • PUFA includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are beneficial for protection against cardiovascular diseases and have anti-inflammatory effects. The DHA (docosahexanoic acid) present in omega 3 is essential for growth.
  • They are utilised by the body for various physiological functions.
  • They reduce hunger pangs because of their slow digestibility.

Role of fat in day to day cooking

  • Fat or oils are used as a medium of cooking
  • It improves the texture of foods
  • Fat improves palatability
  • It improves the quality of the product



  • Dietary Guidelines for Indian- A Manual; ICMR, National Institute of Nutrition.
  • Srilakshmi, B. (2002). Food Science (Revised. New age international publication).