Skip to content

NuSun shines in human-health trial

Bismarck, ND — Recent tests on the heart-health benefits of NuSun sunflower oil are showing glowing results.

Lower in saturated fat than typical linoleic sunflower oil, NuSun does not need hydrogenation to be shelf stable. Hydrogenation creates trans-fatty acids, which may be associated with raising serum cholesterol levels.

In a recently-completed clinical study by Pennsylvania State University, 31 men and women with elevated cholesterol levels followed three diets — one that substituted two tablespoons of NuSun oil per day for the saturated fat in a typical American diet, another that substituted olive oil and a third structured like the average American diet.

Head researcher Penny Kris-Etherton from Penn State said the study shows “that the substitution of just a small amount of a healthy oil like NuSun for saturated or trans fats can significantly impact heart-health.”

NuSun-diet participants showed a nearly 5 percent reduction in total cholesterol and an almost 6 percent reduction in low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol. The other two diet groups showed no reduction.

The United States Food and Drug Administration will require that trans-fat content be listed on all processed-food labels beginning in January 2006. “Manufacturers don’t want to show a large percentage of trans fats so that opens opportunities for oils like NuSun,” says AURI scientist Max Norris. The Penn State study is part of long-term research supported by AURI.

NuSun oil performs well in extremely high cooking and frying temperatures and has excellent shelf-life characteristics, Norris says. Many major food companies have already begun using NuSun oil in such commercial products as Frito-Lay SunChips, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and even a variety of Crisco shortening. But NuSun opportunities are not limited to food manufacturers.

“To meet consumer demands for healthier options while dining out, restaurants and food chains are looking for highly-stable, trans-free oil alternatives to improve the health profile of the foods being served,” says National Sunflower Association Executive Director Larry Kleingartner.

Minnesota currently grows about 60,000 acres of sunflowers. In 2003, NuSun varieties were planted on 55 percent of total oilseed sunflower acres. Those acres are likely to increase as demand for NuSun oil rises.