Monoglycerides and diglycerides come from a range of plant and animal sources, including pigs and cows. They are used in food manufacturing processes to bind ingredients that would not otherwise bind.
Monoglycerides and diglycerides help oils and water mix together smoothly, and they prevent oil from escaping peanut butter. They constitute less than 1 percent of an average person's food intake and act as a small part of someone's dietary fats. Individuals who want to know more about them can check the food label, as they are usually around the 4th listed ingredient.
Some of the products monoglycerides and diglycerides appear in include chewing gum, baked goods, ice cream, shortening, whipped cream, margarine and toppings. Individuals who are concerned about their food's vegetarian content can look for vegetarian labels on their products, or they can check to see if soybean oil is present instead. In some cases, manufacturers use synthetically made monoglycerides, and one of the largest manufacturers of the compound uses soybean oil instead of animal fats.
Chemically, monoglycerides and diglycerides act as emulsifiers. They are hydrolysed to produce glycerol and a free fatty acid. Each one has a glycerol molecule with an ester bond and one fatty acid molecule.