Vegetable Oil vs Mineral Oil: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Vegetable oil is derived from various plants, seeds or fruits and is used in culinary and industrial applications.
  2. Mineral oil is a colourless liquid derived from petroleum used in medical fields.
  3. Vegetable oil is derived from plant sources such as soya beans, sunflowers, palm and olives, whereas mineral oil is obtained from petroleum refining.

What is Vegetable Oil?

Vegetable oil is commonly referred to as edible oil that is obtained from various plants, seeds or fruits. It plays an essential role in culinary and industrial applications. Plants that are familiar vegetable oil sources include soya bean, sunflower, canola, palm and olive. The seeds are crushed and pressed to extract oil from them.

Vegetable oil is commonly used for cooking, frying and baking because of its properties like high smoke point and neutral flavour. It contains essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6, which are highly beneficial for a healthy heart. It is also rich in specific vitamins like Vitamin K, necessary for blood clotting, and Vitamin E, which protects the body’s cells from damage.

Vegetable oil is also used in various industries. It serves as a base for producing biofuels and lubricants. It is also used to manufacture soaps, detergents and some food products. It is a widely used base for cosmetics because it provides moisture and nourishment to the skin and hair.

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What is Mineral Oil?

Mineral oil is a colourless and odourless liquid that is sourced from petroleum. It is produced as a byproduct during the distillation of crude oil. It is readily available and cost-effective as well.

Mineral oil is widely used in the medical field. It has specific abilities, including forming a protective barrier on the skin, making it an essential component in many pharmaceutical products like laxatives and ointments. It is also used as a common ingredient in moisturizers and provides relief from chapped lips. It is also used in skin care products due to its ability to prevent moisture loss. 

Mineral oil is also used as a lubricant in the industrial sector. This is because it reduces friction between moving parts in machinery and enhances their performance and longevity. It is also used as an insulating agent in transformers as it ensures the safe distribution of electricity.

Difference Between Vegetable oil and Mineral oil

  1. Vegetable oil is derived from plant sources such as soya beans, sunflowers, palm and olives, whereas mineral oil is obtained from petroleum refining.
  2. Vegetable oil contains essential fatty acids, vitamin K, vitamin E and other beneficial compounds, whereas mineral oil holds no nutritional value and provides no nutrients to the body.
  3. Vegetable oil is considered more eco-friendly than mineral oil as it is derived from renewable plant sources and can be a part of substantial initiatives.
  4. Vegetable oil consists of triglycerides, fatty acids linked to glycerol, whereas mineral oil is made up of hydrocarbons, compounds of hydrogen and carbon atoms. 
  5. Vegetable oil is predominantly used in cooking, frying and baking due to its high smoke point and neutral flavour, whereas mineral oil is used mainly in producing pharmaceutical products. 
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Comparison Between Vegetable oil and Mineral oil

Parameters of ComparisonVegetable OilMineral Oil
Source of origin Plant sources like soya bean, sunflower, palm and olivesPetroleum refining 
Nutritional value It contains essential fatty acids, Vitamin K and Vitamin ENo nutritional value 
Environment impact More eco-friendly Less eco-friendly 
Composition Triglycerides Hydrocarbons 
Primary useCooking, frying and baking Production of pharmaceutical products
References
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00752.x https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ejlt.201500528

Last Updated : 15 August, 2023

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