"Healthier" Soybean Oil

Major newspapers reported that a new variety of soybean being grown in the U.S. produces a “healthier” oil. The new beans contain 1-3% linolenic acid, rather than the 7% found in regular soybeans. 

Lower linolenic acid soybeans may result in an oil that is more resistant to going rancid (and therefore can be used instead of hydrogenated/trans fats in some foods that are designed for longer shelf-life), but linolenic acid is a beneficial omega-3 fatty acid that is already too low in the average diet compared to linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). These low-linolenic acid oils (made by genetic engineering) will only further reduce the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in the diet. Sacrificing nutrition for shelf-life does not make this oil “healthier.”

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