Palm oil does not contain essential fatty acids for the human body.

Minyak sawit tidak mengandung asam lemak esensial yang diperlukan tubuh.

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According to the science of nutrition, the three essential fatty acids in the human body are oleic (C18 : 1), linoleic (C18 : 2) and linolenic (C18 : 3). The fatty acid in palm oil (Table) contains a sufficient and balanced amount of essential fatty acid. If breast milk is used as the benchmark for the standard biological value, the composition of essential fatty acid in palm oil is close to that of breast milk.

Table:   The comparison of palm oil fatty acid composition and breast milk (percentage)

Type of fatty acidPalm oilBreast milk
<C14 : 01.213.5
C16 : 049.332.2
C18 : 04.16.9
C18 : 136.336.5
C18 : 28.39.5
C18 : 30.51.4
C20 : 00.3

Source: Muhilal (1998)

Palm oil contains 36.3 percent essential oleic fatty acid, while breast milk contains 36.5 percent. The essential linoleic fatty acid in palm oil amounted to 8.3 percent, a tad lower than the linoleic fatty acid content in breast milk of 9.5 percent. The small difference is also found for linolenic fatty acid in palm oil, which amounted to 0.5 percent, while it is 1.4 percent in breast milk. Research conducted by Marangoni et al. (2000) revealed that breast milk contains 25 percent palmitic fatty acid, which is essential for baby growth.

The data above show that palm oil contains essential fatty acid in a balanced amount and is even similar to the composition of essential fatty acid in breast milk.

Dari segi ilmu gizi, tiga asam lemak yang esensial (harus tersedia dalam tubuh) adalah oleat (C18 : 1), linoleat (C18 : 2) dan linolenat (C18 : 3). Komposisi asam lemak minyak sawit (Tabel) mengandung asam lemak esensial yang cukup dan seimbang. Jika Air Susu Ibu sebagai pembanding nilai hayati standar ternyata komposisi asam lemak esensial antara minyak sawit mendekati komposisi Air Susu Ibu.

Tabel.   Perbandingan Komposisi Asam Lemak Minyak Sawit dan Air Susu Ibu (Persen)

Jenis Asam LemakMinyak SawitAir Susu Ibu
<C14 : 01,213,5
C16 : 049,332,2
C18 : 04,16,9
C18 : 136,336,5
C18 : 28,39,5
C18 : 30,51,4
C20 : 00,3

Sumber : Muhilal (1998)

Minyak sawit mengandung asam lemak esensial oleat sebesar 36,3 persen, sementara Air Susu Ibu juga mengandung asam lemak esensial oleat sebesar 36,5 persen. Asam lemak esensial linoleat minyak sawit sebesar 8,3 persen, dan sedikit lebih rendah dari kandungan asam linoleat Air Susu Ibu sebesar 9,5. Demikian juga asam lemak linolenat minyak sawit sebesar 0,5 persen dan kandungan asam linolenat Air Susu Ibu sebesar 1,4 persen. Penelitian Marangoni et al., (2000) mengungkapkan bahwa dalam Air Susu Ibu mengandung 25 persen asam lemak palmitat yang sangat diperlukan dalam perkembangan bayi.

Data-data tersebut menunjukkan bahwa minyak sawit mengandung asam lemak esensial yang cukup seimbang bahkan mirip dengan komposisi asam lemak esensial Air Susu Ibu.

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