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SAD made 'better' with cholesterol free oil


Americans are constantly being urged to lose weight by eating more fruit, vegetables and fiber-rich foods. One company, however, has launched a "healthy" frying oil, which means the nation can keep eating its doughnuts and onion rings, but still reduce its risk of obesity and the life-threatening conditions associated with it, reports Philippa Nuttall.

Source Food has patented a technology from General Mills that produces healthier cooking oils by removing the cholesterol.

Nextra is a mixed vegetable and animal fat oil that has been created for use by industrial bakers, with the primary target being hotels, restaurants and groceries or delis that sell take-away food, such as doughnuts or fried chicken.

Nextra was introduced around eighteen months ago and according to Hank Cardello, the CEO of Source Food, "sales are going north".

On the back of this success, the company hopes, at the end of this year, to launch a baking oil that uses the same technology.

Cardello told that he is convinced his firm's product is superior to other "healthy oils" because it is "more stable, lasts for longer and is less greasy".

"Compared to pure vegetable oil, the final product contains less grease," he said.

Nextra is currently being used by two regional supermarket chains and, according to Cardello, being tested by one of the top three grocery stores in the US. He claims that should this chain decide to use Nextra they will use five million pounds fewer of oil to cook the same amount of food.

"Therefore the manufacturers will spend less money and the consumer will receive less calories," he concluded.

In fact, the product is more expensive than lots of other products already on the market, but Cardello estimates that manufacturers will save money by using 20-30 percent less oil.

And, in terms of whether giving consumers "healthier" doughnuts and chicken wings makes nutritional sense, Cardello says he believes in the merits of educating people about healthy eating, but is convinced there is a certain percentage of them, who will not change their eating habits whatever you tell them. Nor does he think that telling people their chicken has less fat in it, will enourage them to eat twice as much of something.

"We need to make the Standard American Diet (SAD) better, and this is one way to do this," he said.

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 300 million people worldwide are believed to be obese and 750 million overweight. Evidence suggests that obesity significantly increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other life-threatening conditions.

In the US, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 61 per cent of adults are overweight or obese and 13 per cent of children and adolescents are seriously overweight. Each year about 300,000 Americans die of obesity-related causes. The CDC pitched the economic cost of obesity to the US at a staggering $117 billion (€96bn) in 2000.

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