12 January - 20 June 2016

Some healthy oils may increase risk of heart disease

4 Dec 13

Some vegetable oils that claim to be healthy may actually increase the risk of heart disease, and Heath Canada should reconsider cholesterol-lowering claims on food labelling, states an analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.  Replacing saturated animal fats with polyunsaturated vegetable oils has become common practice because they can reduce serum cholesterol levels and help prevent heart disease.  In 2009, Health Canada’s Food Directorate, after reviewing published evidence, approved a request from the food industry to apply a heart disease risk reduction claim on vegetable oils and foods containing these oils.  The label suggests “a reduced risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels.”  Careful evaluation of recent evidence, however, suggests that allowing a health claim for vegetable oils rich in omega-6 linoleic acid but relatively poor in omega-3 a-linolenic acid may not be warranted.  Corn and safflower oil, which are rich in omega-6 linoleic acid but contain almost no omega-3 a-linolenic acid, are not associated with beneficial effects on heart health according to recent evidence.  The authors cite an earlier study in which the intervention group replaced saturated fat with sources of safflower oil or safflower oil margarine.  They found that the intervention group had serum cholesterol levels that were significantly decreased (by about 8%-13%) relative to baseline and the control group, which is consistent with the health claim.  However, rates of death from all causes of cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease significantly increased in the treatment group.  The researchers suggest that the health claim be modified such that foods rich in omega-6 linoleic acid but poor in omega-3 a-linolenic acid are excluded.

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative analysis team has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling including the determination of CLA.  For information on the lipid profile of your product please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com.

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