Difference Between Fats and Oils

What are Fats?

In nutrition, biology, and chemistry, fat usually means any ester of fatty acids, or a mixture of such compounds, most commonly those that occur in living beings or in food.

They are solid at room temperature. There are two types of fats that are solid at room temperature. They are saturated fats and trans fats.

Saturated fat is also known as solid fat. Saturated fat in fish and poultry is less when compared to animal fat or red meat. This fat can increase your cholesterol levels. Tropical oils such as cocoa butter, coconut oil, and palm oil also have saturated fats. It is mostly found in non-dairy products and snacks in large quantities. Cakes, butter, and cookies are some examples of food containing maximum saturated fats.

A fat is changed to increase its shelf life. The process to make this change happen is called hydrogenation. This fat is harder at room temperature. The importance of trans fat is that it makes flakier pie crusts and crispier crankers. It is found in cookies, chips, processed food etc. Avoid eating or consuming fewer foods containing trans fats as it increases your cholesterol levels.

What are Oils?

Fats that are liquid at room temperature are called oils.

Unsaturated fats belong to this category. Consuming food containing unsaturated fat helps improve cholesterol levels. There are two types of unsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated fat is found in nuts, vegetable oils and avocado. Consuming food that is rich in monounsaturated fats helps in controlling cholesterol levels by keeping high good HDL cholesterol and lowering bad LDL cholesterol.

Polyunsaturated fat is found in oils such as sunflower, corn and soybean. Seafood majorly consists of these fats. Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat in food consumption may help in lowering LDL cholesterol. There are two types of polyunsaturated fats. They are Omega 3 and Omega 6.

Difference between Fats and Oils Table

To make you understand how Oils and fats are different from each other, here are some major differences between oils and fats:

Difference between Fats and Oils
Fats Oils
Solid at room temperature Liquid at room temperature
Saturated and trans are its types Unsaturated fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are its types
Mostly derived from animal Mostly derived from plants
Increases cholesterol levels Improves cholesterol levels
Mainly comes from animal food but also through vegetable oil by process called hydrogenation Mainly comes from plants or fish
Example: Butter, beef fat Example:Vegetable oil, fish oil
Contains 9 cal/gm Contains 9 cal/gm

Also, Check ⇒ Difference Between Fat And Cholesterol

One difference between fats and oils is that at room temperature fats are solid whereas oils are liquid. Fats and oils are both made of one part called glycerol attached to three other parts called fatty acids. Glycerol is a thick liquid with many industrial uses. The fatty acids can vary and this makes the different kinds of fats and oils.

  • Fats and oils are lipids. They are important energy stores in animals and plants.
  • Fats are solid at room temperature whereas oils are liquids.
  • Hibernating animals survive by using up their stores of body fat. Some plant seeds survive because they contain a store of oil.
  • Fats and oils do not mix with water.

Fats and oils have many domestic and industrial uses. Soap for example can be made from tallow or coconut oil and a substance called a strong alkali, such as sodium hydroxide. Soap molecules have water loving heads and water repelling tails. In dirty water the tails gather around dirt particles and in this way the direction dissolve into the water and be carried away with it.

These were some important differences between oils and fats. To know differences between other topics in chemistry you can register to BYJU’S or download our app for simple and interesting content. India’s largest k-12 learning app with top-notch teachers from across the nation with excellent teaching skills.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


What is the definition of fat and oil?

Fats and oils are made up of molecules known as triglycerides, which are esters consisting of three fatty acid units connected to glycerol. The rise in the amount of shorter chain fatty acids and/or unsaturated fatty acids reduces the melting point for fat or oil.


What is the function of fat?

Dietary fats are important to improve your body’s energy and cell growth. They even help to protect your organs and help keep your body moist. Fat helps the body digest nutrients and produces essential hormones, too.


What are fats and oils functions?

The body uses fat as a power source, and fat is the primary component of energy storage in the body. Fat also has many other essential roles in the body, and a reasonable amount in the diet is required for good health. Food fats come in a number of forms, including saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.


What types of fat are good?

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as ‘healthy fats’ because they are good for your skin, your cholesterol, and your general safety. These fats can help: reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Lower low levels of LDL cholesterol thus growing healthy HDL.


What are the main sources of fats?

Fat is one of the three essential macronutrients that the body needs, along with carbohydrates and proteins. A balanced diet should contain healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Some better examples of these fatty acids are avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds and fatty fish.

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Related Links

Lipids Omega 3 fatty acids
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