Article Archives
Stars Aligning for NuSun™

Thursday, November 13, 2003
filed under: Utilization/Trade: NuSun

The stars are aligning for growing mid-oleic NuSun™ oil demand—now it’s a matter of growing acreage to assure a larger, more consistent supply.

NuSun as a fledgling industry got a boost recently with two important developments:

1) The Food & Drug Administration announcement requiring mandatory labeling of trans fats by Jan. 1, 2006, which makes naturally trans-fat free NuSun™ oil an attractive oil choice.

2) Early results of a nutritional study at Penn State, which indicates that NuSun compares favorably with olive oil for health benefits, and even better in some respects, as a NuSun diet was shown to lower cholesterol levels.

The FDA announcement has long been in the works, but finally came with a deadline. Food manufacturers will need to list trans fat on nutrition facts panels of food labels by Jan.1, 2006. The new label stipulation follows a National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine report released last fall which recommended limiting trans fat in the diet as much as possible.

A comprehensive (and easy to understand) Q&A backgrounder on trans fat nutrition labeling can be found on the website for the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition,

In the Penn State controlled feeding study, cholesterol levels of 31 volunteers were evaluated in a comparison of food prepared with a NuSun™ sunflower oil diet, an olive oil diet, and an average American diet. The study group consisted of 12 men, 19 women, ages 25-64, slightly overweight with elevated cholesterol as a group. Olive oil was chosen as a comparison, since the oil, like NuSun, is recognized for its healthful benefits.

Preliminary results of the study showed that the diet with NuSun sunflower oil significantly reduced total cholesterol and reduced LDL cholesterol compared to the average American diet.

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found among the lipids (fats) in the bloodstream and in body cells. Cholesterol is both good and bad. The American Heart Association points out that cholesterol is used by the body to form cell membranes and hormones, but when there is too much cholesterol, it builds up in arterial walls and increases risk of heart attack.

LDL (bad) cholesterol is the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries. HDL (good) cholesterol helps keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. Consumption of trans fats has been associated with higher blood levels of LDL, or the “bad” cholesterol, and NuSun has no trans fats.

In the Penn State study, substituting NuSun sunflower oil daily in place of saturated fat had a significantly better cholesterol lowering effect than substituting a similar amount of olive oil.

“Early data from the Penn State research indicates that the health profile of NuSun is beneficial, with a performance that’s on par and in some respects even better than that of olive oil,” says Larry Kleingartner, executive director of the National Sunflower Association.

In less than a decade, the sunflower industry created NuSun sunflower oil through standard breeding techniques with no use of genetic modification. The unique fat profile of NuSun sunflower oil provides industrial cooking capabilities needed to produce tasty, high-quality food products, without partial hydrogenation, which adds the harmful trans fat. Because of its natural stability, NuSun sunflower oil performs extremely well in commercial cooking and frying, with a smoke point of 450°, a clean light taste, and excellent shelf-life characteristics—all of the necessary characteristics for today’s manufacturers.

In an Oct. 13 news brief on (an online soybean and oilseed industry news source) Stephanie Childs, a spokesperson for the Grocery Manufacturers of America, pointed out that “companies are looking for ways to reduce trans fats in products now.” They are looking at options to reformulate their products, so that they don’t have to list trans fat content on their label.

The NSA is seeing heightened interest in NuSun, both in calls for information and

samples. Contacts have included companies interested in using NuSun sunflower oil in their products as an ingredient, in the foodservice area and in other vegetable oil applications such as salad dressings.

NuSun™ sunflower oil has already been embraced by leading food manufacturers, such as Frito-Lay, which announced earlier this year that its new natural and organic line of chips will exclusively use NuSun sunflower oil. More recently, Frito-Lay announced that its SunChips® will also be made with NuSun, as it meets the company’s newly established healthy standards for oils— elimination of trans fat and lower saturated fat.

In addition, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a major teaching hospital of the prestigious Harvard Medical School, began to use NuSun sunflower oil last year in its food service operations.

return to top of page

   More about Sunflower ►