Difference between Fats and Oils

Key Difference: The main difference between Fats and Oils is that, fats are usually derived from animals, whereas oils are usually derived from plants.

Fats and oils are very important for every human body. It is mainly essential for daily dietary plan. Fats and oils are totally different from each other. In simple terms, fats are animal fats whereas oils are vegetable oils. The other difference is fats tend to be solids at room temperature; on the other hand, oils tend to be liquid at room temperature. Remember, on the daily basis the two terms can be used interchangeably because both, fats and oils contain 9 calories per grams.

Fats play an important part in chemical and metabolic functions. Fats are broken down in a human body by enzymes called lipases, which are produced in the pancreas. Human bodies also have an adipose tissue, which is known as a fat depot and is a loose connective tissue composed of adipocytes. This tissue is compose of roughly 80% fat and is located beneath the skin, around internal organs, in bone marrow and in breast tissue. The main role of this tissue is to store energy in the form of lipids. An excess of this tissue causes obesity in humans.

The two main types of fats are Saturated and Unsaturated. Almost all foods, butter, margarine and oils, contains a mixture of fats. The food is called high in saturated or unsaturated when one type is often present in higher in amounts.

All oils are blends of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated oils (or fats). Among all these types, there are two basic types of “good” food oil. Those are the ‘monounsaturated’ fat and ‘polyunsaturated’ fat. These oils act to search artery-clogging cholesterol from the bloodstream, carrying it to the liver for processing. Healthy oils generally contain high levels of unsaturation, meaning carbon-carbon double bonds.

  • Sources of monounsaturated oil include: Olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil. Of these, peanut is cooking oil favored for its good thermal stability, which makes it ideal for frying and other high temperature applications.
  • Sources of polyunsaturated fats include: Cold water fish (i.e. salmon, tuna), whole wheat, and sunflower oil. These are good sources of omega-3 fats, which reduced inflammation, but are more suitable for low temperature uses like salad dressing and dipping sauces.

Oils and fats are sub-groups of lipids, and are known as triglycerides. The term ‘lipid’ is used to refer to fat at both liquid and solid state, in a medical or biochemical context. Thus, with everyone these days trying to become skinny, these important nutrients have started to become cut down upon, which isn’t always a good thing. These nutrients are important in the body as an energy source, which helps the body perform its daily functions.

Comparison between Fats and Oils:





Fats are the fatty acid esters of glycerol and are the primary energy depots of animals.

Oils act to search artery-clogging cholesterol from the bloodstream, carrying it to the liver for processing.

Origin of the word

Middle English, from Old English fǣtt, past participle of fǣtan to cram; akin to Old High German feizit fat

Middle English oile, from Anglo-French, from Latin oleum olive oil, from Greek elaion, from elaia olive

Derived in

12th Century

13th Century

Room temperature



Derived from




  • Trans fat
  • Unsaturated fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Total fat
  • Monounsaturated fat
  • Polyunsaturated fat


  • Degree of saturation
  • Length of fatty acid structure
  • Cis-trans configuration
  • Crystalline structrue
  • Energy reserve
  • Protect vital organs and thermal insulation
  • Transport medium for oil-soluble vitamins
  • Hunger suppressor


Animal fats –

  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Lard
  • Meats

Vegetable fats –

  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Seed oil
  • Corn oil

Image Courtesy: whitetigernaturalmedicine.com, joyofkosher.com

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The statement, "Fats and oils are totally different from each other", is quite simply wrong.

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