Role of Different Dietary Saturated Fatty Acids for Cardiometabolic Risk

David Iggman; Ulf Risérus


Clin Lipidology. 2011;6(2):209-223. 

In This Article

Different Types of Dietary SFA

Dietary SFA can be divided into animal and vegetable fat, according to origin. The tropical oils (i.e., palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil) are high in SFA albeit of vegetable origin. However, there is also considerable heterogeneity in this category. Coconut oil is high in lauric acid (12:0), whereas palm oil mainly consists of palmitic acid (16:0) and oleic acid (18:1n-9). Overall, the most common dietary SFA are 16:0 and stearic acid (18:0), found in animal fat (~a half and a quarter of total SFA in beef, respectively), and also present in varying amounts in plants. Accordingly, these two SFA are also the major SFA in human plasma and tissues, which typically reflect dietary intake in western diets moderately high or high in total fat. Dairy fat is unique in that it contains a broad spectrum of short-chain (SC), medium-chain (MC) and long-chain (LC) SFA, besides monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Still, in most dairy products, the major fatty acid is 16:0. The MC SFA can be found in dairy, coconut oil and palm kernel oil.