Oleic acid is the most common monounsaturated fatty acid in the plant kingdom. When compared with polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is considered neutral with respect to coronary heart disease. In addition, it is more stable than polyunsaturated fatty acids. Palm oil and palm olein can be considered to have high oleic acid content, with levels of 39% and 45%, respectively. However, when compared with olive oil which has 80% oleic acid and with other high oleic (HO) oils produced through genetic modification and plant breeding, they fall into the low range category. For vegetable oils with a high degree of polyunsaturation, the target is to produce lower polyunsaturation and higher monounsaturation, while maintaining a low saturation content. The ‘Mediterranean diet’ comprises a combination of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, cereals and pasta. As the life expectancy of people living in the Mediterranean regions is among the highest in the world, with the populace having low rates of chronic diseases, the connection with consumption of olive oil is to be expected.
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB),
6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi,
43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.
* No.1, Jalan 1/9E,
Bandar Baru Bangi,
43650, Selangor, Malaysia.