To help meet the human body's need for fat while maintaining a healthy weight, ADM Kao LLC, a joint venture between Archer Daniels Midland Company (Decatur, Ill.) and the Kao Corporation of Japan (Tokyo), is rolling out an oil under the Enova[tm] brand. This product has been on the Japanese market since 1999 under the name Econa[r] Healthy Cooking Oil, where market share data shows it to be the number one cooking oil in that country, notes ADM. Enova oil is unique in that it is produced from soy and canola oils through a process called interesterification to yield a finished product that is greater than 80% diglycerides (or diacylglycerides, DAG). Thus, compared to traditional oils, less Enova oil is stored in the body as fat. See the diagram “Simplified Structures.”
To manufacture Enova oil, a patented enzyme interesterification process combines two fatty acids from soy or canola with a glycerol molecule to form a diglyceride. The final oil consists of a blend that is greater than 80% diglycerides, most of which are in the 1,3 form, and is lower in saturated fat than other conventional oils.
Enova oil is not a low-calorie product; however, its benefits come from how it is metabolized. The body will metabolize 1,3 diglycerides a bit differently than it does triglycerides. People gain weight when their body stores excess calories as fat. However, not as many 1,3 diglycerides are stored as fat when compared to the triglycerides found in traditional cooking oils. Instead, a greater proportion of the fatty acids in the oil are transported to the liver, where they are burned as energy. Clinical trials conducted in both the U.S. and Japan have shown that substituting one to two tablespoons of Enova oil for conventional oil can result in modest reductions of body mass and fat for participants.
ADM Kao has notified the U.S. FDA that Enova oil is GRAS. The oil may be substituted for traditional oils in a wide range of applications including salad dressings, margarines, mayonnaise, bakery products, nutrition bars, soups, gravies and frozen entrées.
ADM's research and development staff will work with processors to develop new applications for customers or help to modify existing formulations. Enova oil is a product that will allow processors to develop healthier foods without sacrificing flavor and mouthfeel.