Palm oil vs Canola Oil vs Vegetable Oil
Palm oil is, at its broadest definition, is vegetable oil, and more specifically a fruit oil. As such, like all vegetable oils, it has no cholesterol. (This is present only in oils from animal origin.) Moreover, palm oil has a rather unique chemical profile in that it possesses a near-equal balance of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Unlike other tropical oils, whose saturated fatty acids can comprise over 90% of the oil, palm oil has only 50% saturated fatty acids, and this level is balanced with 50% unsaturated fatty acids. Owing to this composition, clinical studies have shown that palm oil tends to be “net neutral” in terms of the effect on a person’s cholesterol levels.
Palm oil is a rich source of natural vitamin E, both tocopherols and tocotrienols, having very potent antioxidant properties. In fact, among the commercially available refined vegetable oils, palm oil has the highest content of natural Vitamin E tocotrienols. People start aware of the dangers of trans-fatty acids (TFAs) – palm oil is TFA-free. With palm oil’s unique natural semi-solid composition, fractionation during processing results in a liquid component (palm olein) and a more solid component (palm stearin). With some other oils, TFAs are formed during hydrogenation, a process that basically converts naturally liquid oil into a solid state.
Canola oil is derived from rapeseed, a flowering plant, and contains a good amount of monounsaturated fats and a decent amount of polyunsaturated fats. Rapeseed is naturally high in potentially toxic compounds like erucic acid, which made it unsafe to consume until recently. In the 1970s, scientists in Canada crossbred a version of the crop to have lower amounts of erucic acid. This strain was dubbed canola—a portmanteau of Canada, oil, and low acid.
Of all vegetable oils, canola oil tends to have the least amount of saturated fats. It has a high smoke point, which means it can be helpful for high-heat cooking. Canola oil tends to be highly processed, which means fewer nutrients overall. “Cold-pressed” or unprocessed canola oil is available, but it can be difficult to find. Canola oil contains Trans-fat that 1.8 g per 100g.
The term “vegetable oil” is used to refer to any oil that comes from plant sources, and the healthfulness of a vegetable oil depends on its source and what it’s used for. Most vegetable oils on the market are a blend of canola, corn, soybean, safflower, palm and sunflower oils. Vegetable oils are refined and processed, which means they not only lack flavor, but also nutrients. It’s called ‘vegetable’ so that the manufacturers can substitute whatever commodity oil they want—soy, corn, cottonseed, canola—without having to print a new label.
Debczak, M. (2022, April 21). Canola oil vs. vegetable oil: What’s the difference? Mental Floss. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://www.mentalfloss.com/posts/canola-vs-vegetable-oil-what-is-difference
Palm Oil: The world’s Best edible oil? Malaysian Palm Oil Council. (2012, May 30). Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://mpoc.org.my/palm-oil-the-worlds-best-edible-oil/