Palm oil vs Sunflower oil - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
Palm oil is the most versatile and highly used type of oil in the world. It is processed to be used in the food industry, beauty, cosmetic products, and industrial usages like soap and car lubricants. Among its positive aspects, they are cheap, highly available all around, they are stable after usage and exposure to heat compared to other frying oils like sunflower. They are used to make soaps more foamy and soft, in addition to that, they are also used to produce medications.
However, with all its positive aspects the palm oil industry is negatively affecting the environment. It is one of the most common reasons for deforestation around the world. As long as the demand for palm oil is increasing, deforestation caused by its industry will increase.
Sunflower oil comes from extracting the oil from sunflower seeds. They are a common oil used in cooking and they have high versatility. They are more expensive compared to palm oil and they burn faster than palm oil, decreasing their frying and heating capacity in cooking, however, they are considered one of the cheap oils available in the market. They are versatile in the culinary world, in addition to that, they are used in biofuels and cosmetics.
In this article, we are going to compare the differences between palm oil and sunflower oil focusing on their nutritional data, usage in diets, and health impacts.
Palm oil and sunflower oil does not contain any:
The glycemic index of both, palm oil and sunflower oil is 0.
They are made of fats and some lipid-soluble vitamins.
They have equal amounts of calories, which is 884 calories per 100g.
Palm oil and sunflower oil are mostly made of fats. 100g of each is totally composed of 3 types of fats, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.
Palm oil is higher in saturated fats nearly 50% of its weight. The main type of fat found in palm oil is palmitic acid which is saturated fat.
Sunflower oil is higher in monounsaturated fats nearly 42% of its weight. The main type of fat found in sunflower oil is linoleic acid which is monounsaturated fat.
Similar to monounsaturated fats, sunflower oil has higher polyunsaturated fats constituting nearly 36% of its weight.
Only two vitamins are available in both oils. Vitamin E is higher in sunflower oil and vitamin K, which is higher in palm oil.
The texture of both can be concluded when comparing their fat profiles. Palm oil is semi-solid at room temperature because it is higher in saturated fats. On the other hand, sunflower oil is liquid at room temperature because they are higher in unsaturated fats.
Diets and weight-loss
Palm oil and sunflower oil are high in calories they are usually used in deep frying. While being on a weight-loss diet or healthy lifestyle it is always recommended to avoid frying foods. Other types of oils are usually used for cooking in weight loss.
Palm oil and sunflower oil having 0 amounts of carbs they can be used to prepare keto-friendly meals.
Both palm oil and sunflower oil are suitable to be consumed by vegans. However, vegans usually prefer to avoid palm oil due to its negative effects on the environment.
Research has shown that palm oil consumption is associated with impaired blood glucose levels, leading to an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. (1)
Consumption of palm oil is associated with increased oxidative stress levels in mitochondria. This in turn would result in a condition called lipotoxicity. (2)
In individuals with normal blood lipid levels; triglyceride, cholesterol, LDL, and HDL levels. No association is present with the development of cardiovascular diseases.
However, unmonitored consumption of palm oil in excessive amounts can lead to an increased level of LDL in the blood which in turn is associated with increased cardiovascular disease. (3)
Palm oil is associated with increased overall inflammation in the body. This in turn eases the risks of chronic diseases. (4)
During the production of palm oil 2 compounds are formed, MCPD and glycidyl esters which are associated with the development of cancer. (5)
Palm oil contains tocotrienols which are characterized by their protective roles against neurodegeneration. (6)
Diabetes and inflammation
There is an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and inflammation with the consumption of sunflower oil. (7)
Serum lipid profile and cardiovascular health
Compared to palm oil, the serum lipid profile was improved having lower amounts of triglycerides and LDL. This in turn leads to decreased risks of cardiovascular health diseases compared to the risks that palm oil contributes.
Sunflower oil contains oleic acids which are associated with relatively lower risks of developing cardiovascular diseases compared to the saturated fatty acids present in palm oil. (8)(9)
Some people who are allergic to the Asteraceae plant family, like daisies might be allergic to sunflower oil. (10)
Sunflower oil contains acylglycerols which have protective characteristics against the development of colon cancer. (11)
It is important to note that the palm oil industry has negative impacts on the environment. Deforestation rates are increased every year due to the palm oil industry. Large landmasses of tropical forests are getting destroyed every year due to the high request for palm oil globally. Deforestation is negatively impacting the wildlife in these tropical areas. It is important to take into consideration this negative environmental aspect of the palm oil industry.
Palm oil and sunflower oil don’t contain water, carbs, proteins, and minerals. They are made of fats. Palm oil has higher saturated fats and vitamin K whereas sunflower oil is higher in unsaturated fats and vitamin E. Sunflower oil is safer for overall health but more expensive.
Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in price|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
|Lower in Sugar||Equal|
|Lower in Sodium||Equal|
|Lower in glycemic index||Equal|
|Rich in minerals||Equal|
|Rich in vitamins||Equal|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Calories diet||Equal|
|Low Fats diet||Equal|
|Low Carbs diet||Equal|
|Low glycemic index diet||Equal|
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All nutrients comparison - raw data values