Canola oil can help Chinese consumers meet the new dietary guidelines released by the Chinese Nutrition Society May 13, 2016, said Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, at an event June 1 that celebrated a Sino-Canadian working relationship in Beijing. Canola is the number two imported oilseed and number three imported cooking oil in China, which leads the world in vegetable oil consumption.
“Canola oil has the potential to significantly improve Chinese public health, especially as consumers become more aware of its benefits,” said MacAulay, who participated in a cooking demo with canola oil and Chef Yuanjun Yang of the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing (as shown on the cover photo.) “CanolaInfo – with the support of the Canadian government – is committed to raising this awareness. This will help make Canadian canola oil more competitive in an important market such as China.”
The new Chinese guidelines advise consumers to keep total fat intake to 20-30 per cent of total daily calories, primarily from healthy unsaturated fats. Trans fat intake should be minimized by everyone at no more than two grams per day and saturated fat intake should be limited. Both of these unhealthy types of fats should be replaced by mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
The guidelines also recommend up to 30 grams (two tablespoons) of cooking oil per day for most ages, and no more than 25 grams for children aged four to seven years and 20 grams for two-year olds. That’s because cooking oil is an important source of essential fats (omega-3 and omega-6) and vitamin E.
“Low in saturated fat with zero trans fat, canola oil is an ideal source of fat for Chinese consumers,” noted Bruce Jowett, vice president of market development for the Canola Council of Canada. “Moreover, scientific studies show that canola oil reduces the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fat. Considering canola oil accounts for nine per cent of China’s vegetable oil imports today, it is already contributing to the nation’s health.”
CanolaInfo, the global promotion program for canola oil of the Canola Council of Canada, has been working in China since 2014. It is affiliating with the Chinese Nutrition Society to promote awareness of healthy fats and canola oil among dietitians and consumers.
“A variety of cooking oils, including canola oil, fit into China’s new dietary guidelines,” said Dr. Songming Du, president assistant of the Chinese Nutrition Society. “Using vegetable oil instead of solid fat for everyday cooking is an easy change consumers can make to increase the intake of unsaturated fat and reduce the intake of saturated fat. This will help decrease their risk of heart disease.”
Canola oil has about half the saturated fat (seven per cent) of olive (14 per cent), soybean (16 per cent) and peanut (17 per cent) oils – and the most plant-based omega-3 fat (nine per cent) of all common cooking oils. It is a good source of vitamins E and K. Canola oil is also extremely versatile with a neutral flavour and colour, light texture and high heat tolerance (smoke point of 242°C/468°F). These many benefits cost only a few jiao per serving.
Canada is the primary supplier of canola to China, Jowett noted. It exported nearly four million tonnes of canola seed and 608,000 tonnes of oil there in 2015 alone.
“Canola oil is one of Canada’s greatest exports and China is one of our largest
customers,” he concluded. “Our oil can help Chinese consumers meet the new
dietary fat recommendations and ultimately, reduce heart disease risk when used in place of saturated fat. CanolaInfo is proud to promote these objectives.”