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Sunseed: The Verdict?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 06, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Hi all,

I live in the UK, and have recently been buying Walkers 'Ready Salted' crisps. I've upped my carbohydrate intake to around 100-300g per day (on a 2,200-3,000kcal daily intake) and are enjoying the results (better mood, better fat loss, better workouts) now that I have adapted to it (took a week or two).

I like these crisps. They make me happy. I've been choosing them because of their ingrediants:

Potatoes Sunflower oil (34%) Salt.

I'd normally avoid any oils outside olive oil, butter, ghee and coconut oil. But apparently these crisps are made from "SunSeed oil" which they advertise as being lower in saturates and traditional crisp cooking oils. Clearly 'sunseed' is a registered trademark, and I couldn't care less about less saturates, I wish there was more, but it seems remarkably low in polyunsaturates (2.2g/100g of crisps), consisting mainly of monounsaturates (27.9g/100g of crisps).

Am I deluding myself? They're made in a factor that handles gluten, but I don't seem to have any problems with trace amounts.

Thanks in advance for your time,

Rick

5740b342b3b4ca4af7625f9505f7eb5d

(281)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:05 PM

Rancidity/oxidation would appear to be an important element in determine the relative harm from any foods. As for acrylamide, the studies I found at a quick glance were ultra-high dose rat studies, with a few meta-analyses that no found no strong correlations between acrylamide and overall cancer risk. Epidemiology, sure, but I'm very skeptical these days of any kind of food phobia, unless it has strong, repeatable evidence against it.

5740b342b3b4ca4af7625f9505f7eb5d

(281)

on October 06, 2011
at 12:57 PM

Addendum: **other** than potential rancidity, but I have no idea what the status of these guys would be in that respect.

5740b342b3b4ca4af7625f9505f7eb5d

(281)

on October 06, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Ok read it - according to this article at least, whilst there **was** secrecy (to test the 'taste' market) whilst sunseed oil was blended in, it is no longer blended with with palmolein, the original vegetable oil. If the products are totally sunseed oil, and total polyunsaturates are very low, I don't see many substantial reasons to not really eat these guys.

5740b342b3b4ca4af7625f9505f7eb5d

(281)

on October 06, 2011
at 12:37 PM

Nope, not at all, which is why I thought I'd ask my fellows on this board. Thanks for your input, I'll check it out.

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4 Answers

3
Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on October 06, 2011
at 01:03 PM

High oleic sunflower oil isn't terrible for you in terms of overall PUFA content, but context is important here. The industrial vats of oil used by Walkers are constantly heated and re-heated to high temperatures - a recipe for rancidity/oxidation.

Another factor to bear in mind is also acrylamide levels in crisps.

5740b342b3b4ca4af7625f9505f7eb5d

(281)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:05 PM

Rancidity/oxidation would appear to be an important element in determine the relative harm from any foods. As for acrylamide, the studies I found at a quick glance were ultra-high dose rat studies, with a few meta-analyses that no found no strong correlations between acrylamide and overall cancer risk. Epidemiology, sure, but I'm very skeptical these days of any kind of food phobia, unless it has strong, repeatable evidence against it.

1
F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on October 06, 2011
at 12:35 PM

Sunseed oil is a type of sunflower oil - check out this but it sounds like it may also be blended with vegetable oil. There seems to be a lot of secrecy, are you happy to eat something that they aren't prepared to let you know exactly what it is?

5740b342b3b4ca4af7625f9505f7eb5d

(281)

on October 06, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Ok read it - according to this article at least, whilst there **was** secrecy (to test the 'taste' market) whilst sunseed oil was blended in, it is no longer blended with with palmolein, the original vegetable oil. If the products are totally sunseed oil, and total polyunsaturates are very low, I don't see many substantial reasons to not really eat these guys.

5740b342b3b4ca4af7625f9505f7eb5d

(281)

on October 06, 2011
at 12:57 PM

Addendum: **other** than potential rancidity, but I have no idea what the status of these guys would be in that respect.

5740b342b3b4ca4af7625f9505f7eb5d

(281)

on October 06, 2011
at 12:37 PM

Nope, not at all, which is why I thought I'd ask my fellows on this board. Thanks for your input, I'll check it out.

-1
418b1b8b3c2371c901dd866317eedc8b

on September 11, 2012
at 05:34 PM

Sunseed is a trademarked US-developed non-GM variety of sunflower oil. The oil is lower in saturates than ordinary sunflower oil, as advertised, but more importantly, MUCH lower in omega-6 polyunsaturates and much higher in omega-9 monounsaturates, like olive oil.

Olive oil is more expensive to produce than sunflower oil, so Sunseed should be a cheaper alternative to olive oil. But Simibee has a good point - the high temperature oil extraction, called refining. This (and cooking of the crisps/chips) isn't too good for you if you're super-picky about your food. So extra-virgin (unrefined) olive oil is healthier for you than either Sunseed or regular olive oil.

But there's another option, and you've referred to it: 'vegetable oil'. In the UK, this almost always refers to rapeseed oil (in North America, called Canola oil) which is cheap and much maligned. This is tha best of the common oils because it has omega-6 and omega-3 in balance, and is the only common oil to have any useful amount of omega-3. If you prefer extra virgin olive oil (I do) then you'll go for cold-pressed rapeseed oil, which is the same price as a better olive oil and in most UK supermarkets. I haven't seen cold-pressed Canola yet in the US outside a specialist store.

So, to complete your answer: if you always avoid refined oils, Sunseed will be OK if you can find a producer who does it cold-pressed - raw. But in any case, it's cold-pressed rapeseed oil every time - and it tastes better than olive oil anyway, I reckon. I also use it to oil my skin every day - much healthier than commercial creams and lotions!

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