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The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty: Different Types of Sunflower Oil

Discover the difference between high-oleic, mid-oleic, and linoleic sunflower oils

Looking closely at food labels has never been more important — especially where oils are concerned. With a number of questions about the type of sunflower oil we use in our BUCK buckwheat mylks, we wanted to shed a little light on the subject while also distinguishing the differences between high-oleic, mid-oleic and linoleic sunflower oils (which ones are safe to consume and which ones you should avoid where possible). This information was extracted from an article produced by Centra Foods. Read the full article here.

The difference between the types of sunflower oils are rooted in the balance between the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in the oil, which are linoleic acid and oleic acid, respectively. High oleic oils are regarded as the most healthy, and they have the most monounsaturated fat (oleic) content that make up the oil. Linoleic, on the other hand, is comprised of the less-healthy-fat, known as polyunsaturated fat. Mid-oleic falls somewhere in between.

Linoleic Sunflower Oil

While linoleic acid is one of the essential fatty acids in the human diet, concerns have been raised about its effects on heart health due to its potential pro-inflammatory and thrombogenic properties. A linoleic sunflower oil contains nearly 70 percent of polyunsaturated fat (linoleic acid) with 20 percent being monounsaturated fat (oleic acid); the remaining 10 to 11 percent is saturated fat. While linoleic sunflower oil is the traditional type of sunflower oil that’s been produced for many years, it is now used more sparingly across North America due to its limitations in fried foods.

High-Oleic Sunflower Oil

High-oleic sunflower oil consists primarily of monounsaturated fat (oleic acid) at around 80 percent of the total, with saturated and polyunsaturated fats making up the balance in equal proportions.

High-oleic sunflower oil has become an important product in the food manufacturing industry, as it can remain shelf stable without hydrogenation. Using high-oleic sunflower oil in bulk is a great way for food producers to ensure products are low in trans fats, while still having a long shelf life. This type of sunflower oil is also ideal for frying, baking, and other high heat applications in food product preparations.

Mid-Oleic Sunflower Oil

Mid-oleic sunflower oil is the most commonly used type of sunflower oil in North America, and the type of oil that is used in our BUCK buckwheat-based mylk and gelato products. Most often a solvent-expelled oil, mid-oleic sunflower oil takes a middle position between high-oleic and linoleic oils, with two-thirds (65%) of the fat content being oleic acid, and the polyunsaturated fat (linoleic acid) at 25%, and roughly 10 percent saturated fat. Its relatively high levels of oleic acid make it less prone to rancidity, eliminating any need for hydrogenation and the resulting trans fat.


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