By Elizabeth Tilak, MS, RD
The soybean plant is a remarkably healthful plant. Soy protein, soy oil and other nutritive components have long been admired for the health benefits they provide. In fact, because of its favorable fatty acid profile, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes soybean oil as beneficial in supporting a heart healthy diet.1 However, a new kind of soybean oil is available in limited quantities that has nutritional properties similar to olive oil and functionality features that cooks will appreciate.
The new trans-fat-free product is called high oleic soybean oil. It is a newly cultivated oil with a special blend of fatty acids that enhance both health benefits and cooking capabilities. As a liquid oil, high oleic soybean oil contains zero trans fats, lower saturated fats, and more monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) compared to conventional soybean oil.
MUFAs have been studied extensively for health benefits. In fact, a 2014 review of a number of studies concluded that greater consumption of oleic acid resulted in an overall reduction of risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.2 Other research has shown that when replacing dietary saturated fats, oleic acid consumption helps to reduce LDL-cholesterol, lower blood pressure, support healthy blood sugar levels and may have anti-inflammatory properties.3,4
Because of its unique components, high oleic soybean oil can easily be used in cooking healthy foods under high heat temperatures.5 This new oil has a high smoke-point (450°F), meaning that it is stable under conditions of high temperatures. Healthful fats like olive oil are not able to function as well under high temperatures. Additionally, because of its neutral flavor, high oleic soybean oil complements a wide-variety of flavors and seasonings without difficulty.
High oleic soybean oil is not yet available in your favorite grocery store, but hopefully will be soon. On a larger scale, the new oil is being tested and used by restaurants and in major food operations and has received favorable reviews from chefs across America.
If you are unable to purchase high oleic soybean oil right now, conventional soybean oil (i.e., vegetable oil) is widely available. As a trusted plant-based oil, soybean oil supports heart health, provides essential omega-3 fats, and builds flavor support to many cuisine favorites. Once available, high oleic soybean oil will add one more healthful option to your pantry.
1. FDA. Guidance for Industry: Food Labeling Guide. 2018; https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm2006828.htm.
2. Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil and health status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lipids Health Dis. 2014;13:154.
3. Calder PC. Functional Roles of Fatty Acids and Their Effects on Human Health. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2015;39(1 Suppl):18s-32s.
4. Sales-Campos H, Souza PR, Peghini BC, da Silva JS, Cardoso CR. An overview of the modulatory effects of oleic acid in health and disease. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2013;13(2):201-210.
5. Qualisoy. High Oleic Soybean Oil. 2018; https://www.qualisoy.com/food-industry-solutions/high-oleic-soybean-oil