What Is Palmitic Acid (16:0) & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Palmitic acid (16:0) (src)

Palmitic acid, 16:0, known as hexadecanoic acid.

It is a saturated long-chain fatty acid.

Because palmitic acid is inexpensive and adds texture to processed foods, it is widely used as a food additive.

Excess carbohydrates in the body can be converted to palmitic acid.

Table of Contents

Palmitic Acid Is A Common Saturated Fatty Acid

Palmitic acid is a saturated long-chain fatty acid. It’s the most common saturated fatty acid found in animals, plants, and microorganisms.

Therefore, it's the primary saturated fatty acid in most diets. (source )

Palmitic acid (16:0) is the most common saturated fatty acid that can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. (source )

When our body has an excess of carbohydrates, the carbohydrates are converted to palmitic acid and then stored as fat.

Naturally Found Palmitic Acid

Palmitic acid is found naturally in palm oil and palm kernel oil. But can also be found in butter, cheese, milk, and meat. (source )

Palmitic oil is abundant in meat and meat products. It constitutes about 25% of the fatty acids of beef or pork fat, but only 6–10% of the fatty acids of sunflower, safflower, peanut, or soy oils. (source )

Breast milk consists of 20–30% palmitic acid, making it a crucial nutrient for infants. (source )

Uses Of Palmitic Acid

Palmitic acid is often used in cosmetics and skincare products.

Palmitic acid functions as an emollient, helping to protect the skin and a surfactant, moisturizer, emulsifier, helping to improve the texture of formulations.

Palmitic acid is used in the synthesis of many different types of products, such as lubricants, plasticizers, food ingredients, and many other products.

In foods, is palmitic acid, for instance, often used as an emulsifier in the preparation of mayonnaise and salad dressings.

Foods You Can Find Palmitic Acid (16:0) In

A jar of ghee - clarified butter
Ghee contains palmitic acid

You find Palmitic Acid (16:0) mostly in fats and oil, pork, and dairy and egg products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Palmitic Acid (16:0) we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top ranked list of foods that contain Palmitic Acid (16:0).

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

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Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.