Edible oils are the oils, which can be consumed by humans. These are usually the plant-based oils that are somewhat similar to the oils produced by the biotech industry to be used as a bio-fuel like biodiesel, or in cosmetics. Edible oils can be liquid or solid at room temperature.
Edible oils differ from the inedible oils, which are the petroleum-based products such as fuel oil, gasoline, and the related products like grease and lubricants. The plant-derived edible oils contain carboxylic acids having long hydrocarbon chains, while the petroleum-based oils lack this carboxyl group at its ends, due to which they are inedible. It should be noted that all plant-based oils are not edible; however, they may be useful for the purposes other than oral consumption.
The carboxyl group in the plant-based oils is responsible for making the plant oils edible, as it provides a site for the enzymes in the body to attach and break down this chain through a process called beta-oxidation. The length of the hydrocarbon chains is a factor that determines how easily these oils can be metabolized by the body.
The edible oils are of different varieties such as saturated oils, monounsaturated oils, and monounsaturated oils. Whether these oils are healthy or unhealthy for the body and how well they can be metabolized depends on the type of the oil. For example, saturated oils are considered unhealthy for the body as they can raise the cholesterol and triglyceride levels while the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils are considered healthy. The most commonly used edible oils are Coconut oil, Olive oil, Palm oil, Sesame oil, Safflower oil, and Peanut oil.