Fats and Fun at FNCE®!
Posted by , MS, RD, CDE

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The Good Fats 101 staff is just back from joining about 12,000 food and nutrition professionals in Washington, DC, for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE®), which began on October 20th. The FNCE® frenzy of educational sessions, awards, keynote addresses, receptions, yoga sessions and catching up with friends never let up, but we still had plenty of time and energy to share all things good fats on the Expo floor.

For the second year, we educated and laughed with attendees over our fun movie-themed trivia game. Attendees sat in real movie theater seats and munched on popcorn popped in Omega-9 Canola Oil or potato chips made with Plenish® high oleic soybean oil while answering fat-focused questions to earn prizes. In “Catch Me if You Canola,” attendees learned that rapeseed is frequently confused for canola oil. In actuality, plant scientists used traditional plant breeding to develop the canola plant from the rapeseed plant. Though their origins are connected, rapeseed oil is rich in the potentially toxic fatty acid erucic acid. Canola oil is rich in oleic acid instead. In “Despicable Fat,” viewers discovered that stearic acid is unique because it’s a saturated fatty acid that is cholesterol neutral. Beef and chocolate are sources of stearic acid. In all, we amused attendees with 20 questions.

FNCE® goers frequently asked us what made Omega-9 Canola Oil and Plenish® high oleic soybean oil unique. Here’s the short answer: Both of them are high oleic oils, making them more resistant to oxidation. Canola oil and soybean oil are naturally high in oleic acid, the most commonly consumed omega-9 fatty acid. With just one double bond, oleic acid (also called a monounsaturated fatty acid) is naturally more stable than polyunsaturated fatty acids. Some of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in canola and soybean oils have been replaced with the more stable oleic acid to produce Omega-9 Canola Oil and Plenish®. This greater stability makes both oils a win for food manufacturers who can produce crackers, chips, popcorn and other foods with a longer shelf life and without a preservative or for the need of an oil higher in saturated fat. All of this gives their label a more favorable health profile. Likewise, the high oleic acid contents of Omega-9 Canola Oil and Plenish® make for a good fry oil. The greater stability extends the fry life of the oil, which provides both a cost benefit and makes for a more sustainable product.

Good Fats 101 wasn’t the only booth talking good fats on the Expo floor. California Walnuts, Hass Avocado Board, Seafood Nutrition Partnership, Almond Board of California, Canola Council of Canada, United Soybean Board and others engaged FNCE® attendees in good fats conversations.

We’ll be back to FNCE® next year in Philadelphia. In the meantime, stop by goodfats101.com often to see our blog posts on the topics that you’re most interested in such as consumer trends, coconut oil and ghee. And be sure to check out our oils comparison chart, Try This, Not That  Cards, research summaries and lots more.