The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized on Nov. 19 a qualified health claim that consuming edible oils containing at least 70 percent of the monounsaturated fat oleic acid per serving may reduce the risk of heart disease.
High-oleic canola oil is primarily used in commercial foodservice operations and food manufacturing due to its higher heat tolerance, more stability and longer shelf life than regular canola oil. Both oils have the same low level of saturated fat but high-oleic canola oil, as its name suggests, contains more oleic acid (and thereby less polyunsaturated fat). This profile makes high-oleic canola oil ideal as a replacement for partially hydrogenated (PH) oils, which account for about 80 percent of remaining dietary trans fat in North America via food products and food service.
“When greater performance is desired in a commercial kitchen, high-oleic canola oil is an ideal choice,” notes U.S. Canola Association president Rob Rynning. “It allows for extended fry life and cost efficiencies with the same heart health benefits as regular canola oil. As a result, high-oleic canola oil is becoming popular among U.S. restaurants and food service operations, including universities, state fairs, resorts and supermarket delis, as they continue to strive to eliminate artificial trans fat from their menus.”
A 2006 study by Texas A&M University showed that high-oleic canola oil has excellent fry life and is functionally equivalent to or better than PH oils. Yet unlike PH oils, high-oleic canola oil does not contain any trans fat. It has roughly 70 percent monounsaturated fat and a high smoke point (475 °F/246 °C) – slightly higher than regular canola oil.
“Using the FDA’s labeling tools to foster innovation toward healthier foods that consumers want is one of the primary goals of the FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy,” says FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “One tool the FDA has to help bring us closer to this important goal is the use of ‘health claims’ on food package labels … By allowing such claims, we at the FDA also hope to encourage the food industry to reformulate products.”
Based on its review of available scientific evidence, the FDA now permits manufacturers of high-oleic edible oils to use the following claim and a variation of it on labels and in promotional materials:
“Supportive but not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that daily consumption of about 1½ tablespoons (20 grams) of oils containing high levels of oleic acid, when replaced for fats and oils higher in saturated fat, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. To achieve this possible benefit, oleic acid-containing oils should not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of [x] oil provides [x] grams of oleic acid (which is [x] grams of monounsaturated fatty acid).”
“High-oleic canola oil offers a heart-healthy alternative to sources of both trans and saturated fats in food products and food service operations,” Rynning concludes. “It’s good for both the food industry and consumers.”
For more information about canola oil, go to www.uscanola.com.
SOURCE U.S. Canola Association