Nutrition policy expert: Switch to healthy oils now - before regulation

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Canola oil plugged as a top choice for fat replacement in bakery following research in Canada
Canola oil plugged as a top choice for fat replacement in bakery following research in Canada

Related tags Nutrition Us

A nutrition policy expert has urged bakers to switch to healthy oils for fat replacement in bakery to make up for under-consumption and preempt future regulation.

Patricia Kearney, president of consultancy firm PMK Associates and nutrition policy expert, said bakers should consider replacing fats, particularly trans fats, with healthier oils.

“The ideal is to move towards healthier fats. We get more of our fats and oils in food [compared to drinks] and it’s critical and very important in terms of the baking industry,”​ she told attendees at an educational session at IBIE 2013 on trans fats.

“If you have trans fats in your product, it’s something you should look at because labeling moving forward will cover that in the next few years,”​ she warned.

The US government is taking a closer look at the use of solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS) in bakery, she said, “and this is going to continue to be an area of scrutiny”.

Bonus: Tackling under-consumption…

Kearney said use of healthy oils is a particularly clever option for reformulation because it would play into tackling under-consumption of oils in the US.

“Americans are only eating about 60% of the oils they should be, so there’s a lot of potential for healthy oils,”​ she said.

She said bakers should pay careful attention to the quality of oils, much like other ingredients.

Canola oil for cardiovascular health

Peter J. Jones, Canada research chair in Functional Foods and Nutrition at the University of Manitoba, recommended canola oil as a first choice for bakers in light of recent research conducted by his team.

Jones led a research project that looked into use of canola oil and variants to replace saturated fats in bakery. Findings showed that along with fat reduction, the oil also had health benefits.

“Canola oil appears to be a desirable option for replacement of saturated fat to optimize cardiovascular [health] in susceptible individuals,”​ he said.

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