American Heart Association
Finds Omega-6 Fatty Acids in Soybean Oil Are
Research Dispels Myths Surrounding Essential Fat
A new science advisory from the
American Heart Association (AHA) concludes that omega-6
fatty acids may decrease risk for heart disease
when part of a healthy eating plan. Omega-6s are
essential polyunsaturated fatty acids
naturally-occurring in soybean oil, nuts and seeds.
These findings dispel debate that omega-6s may cause
inflammation leading to heart disease, the nation's number
Circulation, an AHA journal, published the findings that
diets rich in omega-6 fatty acids prove to be heart healthy.
Dr. William Harris, PhD, and colleagues from the Sanford
School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota, felt
it was important to objectively evaluate reports that
omega-6s promote inflammation and thus may increase heart
In a statement from AHA, Dr. Harris explained, "That idea is
based more on assumptions and extrapolations than on hard
data." While an acid that causes early stages of
inflammation may be formed from omega-6s, they also produce
anti-inflammatory properties - particularly in the lining of
blood vessels - that are much stronger.
After reviewing results of more than two dozen controlled
and observational studies, Dr. Harris determined that
participants in the controlled trials consuming diets higher
in omega-6s had less incidence of heart disease than those
whose omega-6 intake was low. A meta-analysis of several
trials indicated that replacing saturated fats with omega-6
lowered heart disease risk by 24 percent.
Soybean oil is about 50 percent omega-6 fatty acids, one of
the most concentrated sources, while olive oil and canola
oil are both low in omega-6s. Soybean oil is commonly
labeled vegetable oil in the grocery store - check the
ingredients label to be sure. Joy Blakeslee, RD, culinary
expert for the United Soybean Board, offers these helpful
hints on inexpensive ways to enjoy soybean oil:
- Replace 1/3 cup soybean oil per 1/2 cup solid fat in cake
and soft cookie recipes
- Stir-fry in soybean oil
- Infuse soybean oil with herbs and garlic and use for
dipping bread and dressing pasta
- Whisk together soybean oil and seasonings for home-made
salad dressings, or purchase a commercial salad dressing
that contains soybean oil
- Look for pie crust recipes that call for liquid soybean
"The news that soybean oil may lower heart disease risk when
replacing oils with higher levels of saturated fat is
especially important," notes Lisa Kelly, RD, MPH, of the
United Soybean Board. Ms. Kelly notes that "soybean oil
innovations are helping the food industry reduce saturated
and trans fat levels in many processed baked goods and
The advisory recommends Americans aim for 5 percent to 10
percent of their daily calories from omega-6 fatty acids.
The recommended daily intake of omega-6s ranges from 12
grams to 22 grams depending on age, gender and physical
activity. Most Americans get their daily requirement in the
foods they consume, but do not need to reduce their intake;
some Americans may actually need to increase their intake of
Source: United Soybean Board
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