Soybean oil can be part of a heart healthy diet. Thanks to a petition for a qualified health claim just authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA), soybean oil — and products containing soybean oil — can use a heart-health claim on packaging, menus, and more.
The claim is similar to those associated with canola and olive oil and states that eating 1.5 tablespoons of soybean oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when replacing saturated fat and not increasing calories. The FDA announced this week that it had no objections to the claim for foods that qualify. The application for the claim was submitted by Bunge, one of the leading soybean processors in the country.
“The food industry is by far our largest customer for soybean oil and by submitting this claim Bunge is really looking out for soybean farmers and our long-term profitability,” says John Motter, United Soybean Board chairman and soybean farmer from Jenera, Ohio. “This claim really helps U.S. soybean farmers maintain their competitiveness in this critical market and helps us compete with other oils that have become synonymous with heart health.”
The American Heart Association recently went on record regarding the cardiovascular benefits of the fats found in soybean oil.
“We conclude strongly that lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, like those found in soybean oil, will lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease,” said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, co-author of “Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease, A Presidential Advisory from the American Heart Association” published in June 2017.
These positive movements for soybean oil will help in U.S. markets primarily, but the checkoff will use the claim to position U.S. soy in international markets where health-conscious decisions are also being made.
As for the U.S., food companies interested in using the claim on food products with at least 5.0 grams of oil per serving can use the full statement below when also meeting applicable criteria for saturated and trans fat, cholesterol and sodium, and in some cases the presence of one of six beneficial nutrients identified by FDA. The authorized claim language is as follows:
“Supportive but not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1½ tablespoons (20.5 grams) daily of soybean oil, which contains unsaturated fat, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. To achieve this possible benefit, soybean oil is to replace saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product contains [x] grams of soybean oil.”