Canola oil gains heart health claim

Canola has joined olive oil in being granted a heart health claim by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The claim will enable canola oil bottlers and makers of eligible products to carry a coronary heart disease-reduction qualified health claim due to its unsaturated fat content.

The permitted claim states: "Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1 1/2 tablespoons (19 grams) of canola oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in canola oil. To achieve this possible benefit, canola oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product contains [x] grams of canola oil."

John Haas, president of the US Canola Association (USCA), which submitted the petition in January, said the claim helped promote public health. "The claim may also encourage food manufacturers and food service providers to substitute canola oil for other oils with less favourable nutritional profiles," he added.

Canola oil is high in healthy unsaturated fats (93 per cent), free of cholesterol and trans fat, and the lowest in saturated fat (7 per cent) of any common edible oil. This composition helps reduce the risk of CHD by lowering total blood and low-density lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol, according to Guy H. Johnson, PhD, who wrote the qualified health claim petition on behalf of the USCA.

"There is ample scientific evidence to demonstrate these benefits from the unsaturated fats in canola oil," he said. "By using it in place of other common edible oils, consumers can increase their compliance with the latest dietary recommendations."

In addition, canola oil is multifunctional with a high heat tolerance, neutral taste and light, smooth texture, he said.

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