Trans fatty acids are a hot item in human nutrition. The majority of trans fats consumed are from partially hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenation allows oil processors to manufacture a wide range of fats with unique functional properties for use in applications. Unfortunately, trans fats, like saturated fats and dietary cholesterol, may raise levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), increasing heart disease risk. The FDA has mandated labeling of trans fatty acids on nutrition facts panels beginning in 2006.

In response to these concerns and to those of the health-conscious public, the industry has strived to create healthier oils. Bunge Oils (St. Louis) has answered this clarion call and now offers Nutra-Clear HS, a new frying oil produced from specially bred canola. The product naturally contains over 70% oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. This also is the predominant fatty acid in olive oil, regarded by many as the healthiest of oils and the centerpiece of the Mediterranean diet. As an added bonus, Nutra-Clear HS contains low levels of “heart healthy” omega-3 fatty acids. The oil can be declared “High Oleic Canola Oil” on the label.

With low levels of saturated fatty acids and less than 4% of linolenic acid, the oil has enhanced stability during frying, even though it has not been hydrogenated.

Frying studies conducted by Bunge Oils' technical staff demonstrate that trans-free Nutra-Clear HS compares well with partially hydrogenated soybean oils. The chart “Thermal Stability Index” shows that Nutra-Clear HS is more stable than clear (non-hydrogenated) soy frying shortening and is equivalent to the creamy, partially hydrogenated product (15g hydrogenated fat per 100g). The thermal stability index uses chemical analyses that are equally weighted to compile the results. The analyses include p-anisidine value, Lovibond red color development, food oil sensor (correlates to polar materials), polymer and oxidative stability index (OSI). Thus, samples are taken from each of the oils at 8-hour intervals and analyzed for each chemical test. Statistical testing then is performed to determine if differences exist. Despite the high oleic content, Nutra-Clear HS has a smoke point of 450°F, which further supports its stability and suitability for frying. Other characteristics include a low level of free fatty acids (0.03 to 0.05), a peroxide value of less than 0.5 and an iodine value of approximately 98.5.

With Nutra-Clear HS's excellent stability that provides long fry life and the ability to produce delicious, crispy, fried foods, the oil's applications include fried items of all types, including chicken, French fries, breaded fish and seafood, vegetables, snack foods and other appetizers. And, since fried foods soak up the oil they are cooked in, they will absorb all that is good in Nutra-Clear HS: an oil that contains zero trans fat per serving, low saturated fat and high levels of oleic acid. Bunge Oils also recommends processors look to Nutra Clear HS for use as a salad or spray oil.

For more information:
Bunge Oils, Rhonda Olechowski