New year, new you? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 were issued just in the nick of time for any diet- and health-related resolutions you may have. As usual, canola oil is recommended as an oil high in unsaturated fats. The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) submitted comments to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) in June 2019.
The new Dietary Guidelines state:
- In the United States, 74 percent of adults have overweight and obesity, creating an increased risk for the development of other chronic health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
- Oils are important to consider as part of a healthy dietary pattern as they provide essential fatty acids. Commonly consumed oils include canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean and sunflower oils.
- Strategies to shift intake include cooking with vegetable oil in place of fats high in saturated fat, including butter, shortening, lard or coconut oil.
- For those 2 years and older, intake of saturated fat should be limited to less than 10 percent of calories per day by replacing them with unsaturated fats, particularly polyunsaturated fats. Current average intakes of saturated fat are 11 percent of calories; only 23 percent of Americans consume less.
- Purchase and cook with products made with oils higher in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (e.g., canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean and sunflower oils) rather than butter, shortening, or coconut or palm oils.
- Minimize intake of trans
“Canola oil has Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status for use in infant formula and qualified health claims from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on its ability to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in both regular (commodity) and high-oleic versions,” the USCA wrote in its comments to the DGAC.
“Canola oil is predominantly composed of unsaturated fatty acids, including 62 percent oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, and 9 and 19 percent of polyunsaturated fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid, respectively. In fact, canola oil has the least saturated fatty acids, only 7 percent, and the most omega-3 ALA of all common cooking oils. (See dietary fat comparison chart for oils.) It is also a good source of vitamins E and K as well as plant sterols.
“Using canola oil as an everyday cooking oil is a simple, affordable way for Americans to reduce their risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes while increasing their intake of nutrients of concern: vitamin E and the essential fatty acid ALA. [Studies provide] evidence that canola oil helps reduce heart disease risk and abdominal adiposity, manage type 2 diabetes, and potentially protect against colon and breast cancers when consumed in place of SFAs.”
In summary, canola oil well fits into the Dietary Guidelines 2020-25 and eating patterns (i.e., Mediterranean, DASH, vegetarian/vegan, etc.) that they recommend. Happy New Year!
Angela Dansby is director of communications at the U.S. Canola Association.