Sunflower Oil – Is it Keto?

Not Keto

Sunflower Oil – Is It Keto Or No-Keto? How To Consume It

No, Sunflower oil is NOT Keto! It is extracted from the flowers’ seeds; having the scientific name Helianthus annus and is supposed to be rich in nutrients, vitamin A & E. The extraction process may be either cold-pressed or refined by degumming or bleaching. Sunflower oil is not keto, and its unrefined counterpart lacks polyphenols and vitamin E.

Why it’s not keto? Why it’s not good for people on Keto-diet?

People on a keto diet need fewer intakes of carbohydrates and fat to curb weight gain. Manufacturers hydrogenate the sunflower oil and turn it into solid or semi-solid form even at room temperature. Consequently, Trans-fats are generated and can lead to diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer. Hence, it has been banned in the US since 2018 and is proposed to be banned worldwide by the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2023.

The omega-6 fatty acid content of sunflower is 60-65% of Linoleic acids that can cause heart diseases. The fragile Poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), contained in high-linoleic sunflower oil may get oxidized while being cooked. The oxidized lipids created may interact with free radicals, leading to the formation of arterial plaques. It also contains 20-25% Mid-oleic acids; mono-saturated fat (MUFA,) and 10-15% Palmitic acids; saturated Fatty Acids (SFA.) [1]

Interesting Facts to Know about Sunflower Oil

  • Cooking with Sunflower Oil: Being unstable at high temperatures, PUFAs such as linoleic acids are vulnerable to oxidation. When cooked in hot pans, the high-linoleic sunflower oil may generate oxidized lipids. These may react with free radicals. Leading to the formation of arterial plaques, responsible for atherosclerosis (hardening the arteries) and heart diseases. It may activate your endocannabinoid system.
  • Excessive Omega-6 Acids: In a standard American diet, there should be an equal proportion (1:1) of omega-6 and omega-3 because omega-3 reduces your systematic inflammation and supports cognitive. This ratio for sunflower may be as high as 20:1, indicating the obvious health hazards [2].
  • Damage to DNA: In a European study, rats fed with sunflower and virgin olive oil (high in oleic acid) showed more damage to their DNA, reduction in antioxidant capacity and higher triglycerides.
  • Obesity: Overconsumption of omega-6 PUFAs may cause obesity due to the omega-6: omega-3 ratio. The higher concentration of arachidonic (06 PUFA) may also add to your weight.
  • Re-engineered Sunflower Oil: To eliminate the adverse effect of sunflower oil, the sunflower industry made two innovative efforts – Nu Sun, an improved version of the regular sunflower oil, and High-oleic sunflower oil, which contains 80% MUFA as oleic acid and is the best option for heart.
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    Sunflower Oil Substitutes: We recommend you to consume olive oil as an ideal substitute for sunflower oil in your keto diet.

Conclusion

In general, a sunflower is not suitable for people on keto-diet. Rather, the higher content of PFUs, in the shape of linoleic acid, may cause diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity. The chief culprit is omega-6. If the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 is balanced, it can be the best oil for cooking and frying.

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