Why do we use Organic High Oleic Sunflower Oil on our Green Elephant Potato Chips?
Potato chips are typically cooked in refined vegetable oils which for many should be worrisome. Recent studies suggest that omega-6 vegetable fats do not support a heart healthy diet and that there is a correlation between heart disease and increased intake of this omega-6 linoleic acid (see 7-year Sydney Diet Heart Study). It’s not just potato chips; the western diet is rich in processed safflower and sunflower oils which has abundance of these acids.
Oils can be broken down into three groups:
- Saturated Fatty Acids – stable at high temperatures and resists oxidation. Think coconut oil and ghee. We sprinkle both on our popcorn! But moderation is the key here with these healthier fats.
- Monounsaturated Oils – not as stable but can withstand some heat before oxidizing. The most common type is oleic acid. Think olive and avocado oil. Good for you but better not cooked.
- Polyunsaturated oils – when expose to heat they tend to oxidize and can create harmful free radicals. Found mainly in vegetable oils like processed partially hydrogenated sunflower and safflower oils. Omega-6 and omega-3’s are the two of the most common polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-6’s are the bad guys.
Studies show we are getting way more omega-6’s than we need. When not in the right proportion the oils are prone to oxidation can lead to inflammation in your body. Research show we need to bring into balance our omega 3 and 6’s into a 1:1 relationship or less. As time progresses more and more of what we eat today is processed and has a misaligned acid ratio. Think farmed raise salmon for a second – not nearly enough 3’s and lots of 6’s. We need more 3’s (think quality fish oils) and to drop the 6’s.
So obviously, choosing the right oils with the right balance is key when it comes to food. That is why we take what we put on our popcorn and chips so seriously. Like chips, most popcorn companies cook with either partially hydrogenated (linoleic) sunflower or safflower or a combo of the two. Its cost effective and versatile but far from ideal. For our Green Elephant potato chips, we wanted to be different. Firstly, we didn’t want to cook them in saturated fats as the oils break down when frying for longer periods and bigger amounts of cooked saturated fats are not good for the body either. We wanted a monounsaturated fat. We looked at olive oil and avocado oil to start, but olive oil’s unique structure made it susceptible to oxidation when cooking and avocado oil didn’t taste great on the chips to be honest. What we came to was organic high oleic sunflower oil. It doesn’t have the same problems that its partially hydrogenated cousin has; it is much richer in monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and much lower in polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) and its levels of omega 6 were much lower. Although the ratio is still not close to 1:1 this oil has by far the best ratios of any oil. See chart.
Not bad eh? Can you believe canola oil has 19mg of Omega 6 per 100g? Not going to eat that oil anymore! We think you should cook all your foods in high oleic sunflower oil. Now we know the skinny on cooking oil we are converts.
Finally, being cold pressed (no high heat and solvents) the oil is also suitable for those on a paleo diet. Did we say organic too??? (I could write another article all about the benefits of that) so it’s also suitable for a planet first diet! The best part for a potato chip the oil has a very delicate light, mild sweet taste. Try any of our chips (and our popcorn) and see what the right oil tastes like.