Planting the seeds for heart-healthier fries and other foods

Mar 14, 2012

With spring planting season on the horizon, scientists are planting the seeds of healthier oils for cooking French fries, fried chicken and other fried items prepared in restaurants and other settings in the foodservice industry. Those seeds of new types of heart-healthy soybean, canola and sunflower oils are the topic of an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

In the article, C&EN Senior Business Editor Melody M. Bomgardner explains that roughly 22 billion pounds of vegetable oils are used for food making in the U.S. each year. So-called partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which can extend products' shelf-lives, were widely used in preparing restaurant foods such as , as well as snack foods and baked goods since the early 1900s. But mounting evidence in the 1990s showed that these oils are not healthful because of the trans fats that are formed in their production. Trans fats increase the risk of heart disease by raising levels of "bad" cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" cholesterol.

By the time the Food and Drug Administration began requiring food manufacturers to list trans fats on their labels in 2006, Dow and DuPont were already exploring alternatives. The companies plan to launch new seeds that promise oilseed crops with healthier fat content in 2013. Dow's Plenish was genetically engineered, while DuPont's Nexera and were produced through plant breeding. Both companies' products have high amounts of oleic acid, which has been shown to be much more heart-healthy than partially hydrogenated oils. The first target market for these "high-oleic" oils is fried foods, where they can be reused more often than current oils, resulting in a 40 percent cost savings to the food industry. Companies are still working on similar products that could replace shortenings used for baked goods.

Explore further: How to prevent organic food fraud

More information: Replacing Trans Fat - cen.acs.org/articles/90/i11/Re… acing-Trans-Fat.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Trans fat ban: Watch saturated fats and calories too

Dec 22, 2006

In December, New York City passed a law to phase out the use of trans fat in restaurants. Other cities, including Boston and Chicago, might follow suit. According to Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, Gershoff professor of nutrition ...

NYC french fries fail trans fats testing

Aug 02, 2007

The U.S. Center for Science in the Public Interest says both Burger King and Wendy's New York City french fries contain unsafe levels of trans fats.

Recommended for you

How to prevent organic food fraud

16 hours ago

A growing number of consumers are willing to pay a premium for fruits, vegetables and other foods labelled "organic", but whether they're getting what the label claims is another matter. Now scientists studying ...

Rice chemist wins 'Nobel Prize of Cyprus'

Aug 21, 2014

Rice University organic chemist K.C. Nicolaou has earned three prestigious international honors, including the Nemitsas Prize, the highest honor a Cypriot scientist can receive and one of the most prestigious ...

User comments : 0