Demand for canola crops rising as fast-food restaurants find healthier cooking options
BISMARCK — Americans are drastically reducing the consumption of harmful trans fats that can wreak havoc with the body’s ability to regulate cholesterol and causes coronary artery heart disease and stroke.
Dr. Walter Willet of the Harvard School of Public Health told attendees of the 2017 Worlds of Healthy Flavors Conference that studies have shown trans-fat consumption has decreased by 80 percent in recent years. Willet was one of the featured speakers at the annual all-member meeting held last month in Napa Valley, Calif. The annual conference brings together some of the top food and health experts across the United States, including members of the Northern Canola Growers Association headquartered in Bismarck.
Most conference topics pertained to healthier options for fast food restaurants, and one reason trans-fat consumption has been reduced is related to quick-serve restaurants using the healthier option of cooking more with canola oil.
“The reduction in trans-fat consumption can’t be understated for our area farmers who grow canola,” said Sheri Coleman, Associate Director of the Northerner Canola Growers Association. “Restaurants and fast food establishments are utilizing as much as they can get their hands on. Canola oil is the No. 2 consumed oil in the United States right now, so there is an opportunity for local farmers. They need to know we have to keep growing our acreage to meet the demand so we don’t have to rely on importing canola from other countries to meet demand.”
Canola oil has the lowest saturated fats content of all cooking oils, has high Omega 3 content and delivers high amounts of monounsaturated fats, the good kinds we need for heart health.
Coleman said the annual meeting offered several new insights for how Americans eat and the latest food trends. “They promoted the “Protein Flip”, which shows us how to make vegetables take center stage on the plate and have your protein, be it by plant or animal, secondary,” Coleman said. “By eating this way, we increase our chances of living longer, healthier and better overall. Canola oil is the perfect fit with plants and protein to make it tasty and flavorful as well as provide satiety.”
For more information about the conference findings or to learn more about canola oil and its local impact, contact Sheri Coleman at the Northern Canola Growers Association.