Vegetable Oil Industry Leading Way to Healthier Canadian Families

TORONTO, June 19, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada's vegetable oil industry is making it easier for Canadian families who desire a healthier lifestyle.  Whether preparing meals at home, dining out at a restaurant or grabbing something on the go, new vegetable oil-based products are giving Canadian families more healthy food options to choose from. And with so many people on the go during the summer months it's important to know how to find those healthier options, regardless of where you might be eating.

"Innovations in Canada's vegetable oil industry are helping all Canadians make healthier food choices, especially when it comes to heart-health," says Sean McPhee, President of Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada (VOIC). "One great example of this is the industry's response to eliminating trans fats in the diet of Canadians."  Trans fat is directly related to a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease.

"Canada's vegetable oil industry has introduced many innovative vegetable oil-based products that have virtually eliminated partially hydrogenated vegetable oil products and their trans fats in Canada's food supply in only six years," said McPhee.

"Today, virtually all of the soft margarines in Canada, made from domestic vegetable oils such as canola and soybean, are trans fat free and provide an important source of essential fatty acids - omega 3 and omega 6 polyunsatured fatty acids.  As well, these healthful margarines are also used as ingredients in many food products.  Additionally, a recent innovation includes margarine, mayonnaise and salad dressings made with oil blends that include heart healthy olive oil, a source of monounsatured fatty acids," said McPhee.

Many restaurants, from independent restaurants to fast food chains, have eliminated trans fats and substantially reduced saturated fats by switching to new, more heat-stable and heart-healthy cooking and frying oils. "These oils would not have been possible without innovations by Canada's seed industry, farmers and our domestic oilseed processing industry," says McPhee.

"Today your french fries and fried chicken are trans fat-free and often low in saturated fat thanks to new cooking oils made from vegetable oils, from canola, sunflower or soybean plant varieties," says McPhee. These new oils, which are higher in monounsaturated fats exhibit high stability at high cooking temperatures, so they're great for frying.

Snacking foods such as potato chips, popcorn, or the many foods that you find in the grocery store, have been reformulated with these same oils to eliminate trans fats and substantially lower saturated fats as well.  At the same time, manufacturers have been able to maintain the taste and texture that consumers have enjoyed for years.

Baked goods are also benefitting from product innovations in Canada's vegetable oil industry. New reformulated products that include oils from oilseed crops such as canola, sunflower or soybean, are blended with palm oils to functionally replace characteristics of animal fats or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil products so that croissants, Danish pastries, cookies, and pie crusts can be trans fat free and lower in saturated fat.

With immense strides being achieved in eliminating trans fats from the Canadian diet, Canada's vegetable oil industry is focused on reducing saturated fats that raise blood cholesterol which is a risk factor for heart disease.  "Last year, Health Canada approved a new health claim submitted by the Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada advising consumers to replace dietary sources of saturated fat with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from vegetable oil to lower cholesterol. Studies have shown that a 1% drop in cholesterol can reduce an individual's risk of heart disease by 2%. And, the effects of the replacement of dietary saturated fatty acids with unsaturated fatty acids are both fast acting and long lasting. In studies reviewed, benefits to individuals in terms of reduced cardiovascular risk appear after just two and a half weeks of dietary change."

"In the future consumers can expect to see more about this new health claim feature as it finds its way onto the packaging of food products on your grocery store shelf and in the nutrition information sections of food companies' websites," says McPhee.

VOIC (VEGETABLE OIL INDUSTRY OF CANADA ) INC. - VOIC (INDUSTRIE DE L'HUILE VÉGÉTALE DU CANADA) INC. is a national not-for-profit industry group representing 70,000 oilseed growers across Canada , seed developers, oilseed processors and suppliers of fats and oils to the food industry, and makers of oilseed-based food products such as margarine, shortenings, cooking oil, salad dressing, mayonnaise and dessert toppings.

SOURCE: Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada

For further information:

Sean McPhee, VOIC (416-214-1232)

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Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada

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