Every healthy diet should contain small amounts of fat. According to the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010,” you should get 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories from fat. However, not all dietary fats are the same. Although palm and soybean oil have the same amount of calories, they differ considerably when it comes to heart-healthy fatty acids and essential vitamins.
The four main types of dietary fats may be divided into two groups, based on the impact they have on your health. Saturated and trans fats are considered harmful fats and should be avoided, according to the MayoClinic.com. Saturated and trans fats can raise your blood cholesterol, which may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids are considered helpful fats. MUFAs and PUFAs can lower your blood cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Calories and Fat
The calorie and total fat content of palm and soybean oil is the same; 1 tbsp. contains 120 calories and 13.6 g of fat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, the fatty acid composition differs considerably. Palm oil contains around 7 g of saturated fatty acids, 5 g of MUFAs and 1 g of PUFAs, while soybean oil has around 2 g of saturated fatty acids, 3 g of MUFAs and 8 g of PUFAs. Based on the fatty acid composition, soybean oil is a more heart-healthy option.
Both palm and soybean oil contain fat-soluble vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells and fatty acids from damage caused by free radicals. The daily recommended dietary allowance for vitamin E, as alpha-tocopherol, is 15 mg for adults. One tbsp. of palm oil has 2 mg and 1 tbsp. of soybean oil has 1 mg of alpha-tocopherol. Soybean oil also contains 9 mg of gamma-tocopherol and 3 mg of delta-tocopherol. However, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, alpha-tocopherol is the only form of vitamin E that is maintained in the human body.
Palm and soybean oil also contain fat-soluble vitamin K that is essential for blood clotting. Linus Pauling Institute reports that only small levels of vitamin K are stored in the body; thus regular dietary intake of vitamin K is important. The RDA for vitamin K is 120 mcg for adults. Palm oil contains only very small amounts of vitamin k; 1 tbsp. has around 1 mcg. Soybean oil is a better source of vitamin K; 1 tbps. contains 25 mcg of vitamin K.