Skip to main content
Knowledge Service

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway

A reference point for public health policy makers with reliable, independent and up-to date information on topics related to promotion of health and well-being.

Page

Main dietary fats and their sources

Health Promotion Knowledge Gateway

Main dietary fats and their sources

(EFSA 2010, FDA website) Dietary Fats

Saturated fatty acids

Type of fatty acid

Dietary sources (in order of fat content)

All Saturated Fatty Acids

Coconut oil, butter (from milk fat), milk fat, cocoa butter, palm oil; smaller amounts in soybean, corn, olive, sunflower and rapeseed oil

Saturated Fatty Acids with <12 carbons Coconut & palm kernel oil, butter
Lauric acid Coconut & palm kernel oil, small amounts in milk fat
Myristic acid Coconut & palm kernel oil, milk fat, smaller amounts in butter
Palmitic acid

Palm oil, milk fat, cocoa butter, butter, smaller amounts in olive, soybean, corn, coconut & palm kernel oil

Stearic acid Cocoa butter, milk fat, butter, small amounts in various plant oils.
 

Monounsaturated fatty acids

Type of fatty acid

Dietary sources (in order of fat content)

Oleic acid Olive, rapeseed & palm oil, cocoa butter, avocado, milk fat, butter, sunflower, soybean and palm kernel oil.
 

Polyunsaturated fatty acids

Type of fatty acid

Dietary sources (in order of fat content)

Linoleic, arachidonic acid Sunflower, corn, soybean, rapeseed oil; smaller amounts in olive and palm oil
α-Linolenic, EPA, DPA, DHA Fatty fish and other fish from aquaculturea, linseed, rapeseed oil, soybean oil, walnuts
 

Conjugated linoleic acid

Type

Dietary sources (in order of fat content)

Isomers of linoleic acid Small amounts in ruminant fats and human milk
 

Trans fatty acids

Type

Dietary sources (in order of fat content)

iTFA Amounts are varying from 1% to up to 50% of total fat in margarine and fat spread, as well as a variety of bakery products or fried foods3;  today the majority of processed foods in the EU contain no or only small amounts of iTFA. However, there may be still foods (e.g. some biscuits) on the EU market with high amounts (up to 40-50% of total fat) (JRC 2014 (pdf))
rTFA Small percentages (3-6% of total fatty acid content) in lamb, mutton, beef and dairy fat
 

Cholesterol

Type

Dietary sources (in order of fat content)

  Animal derived foods: milk/dairy fats, Butter (from milk fat), eggs, offal, pork, beef, lamb, chicken, fish, shellfish. Foods rich in cholesterol are often also rich in SFA

a when fed with omega-3 fats