From Sunflower Oil to Coconut Oil: Why It’s Time to Make the Switch

We’re just back from a family trip to Ireland, and I’ve got to say, they sure do a great job at food allergies over there! (Like, seriously. Ireland was getting more points than Canada on practically everything. Check out my Ireland travel series on Instagram to see what I mean: Allergen Labelling, Family Time & Eating Out)

But you know where the Irish don’t get points? Their love of sunflower oil! I swear, they use it in everything!! Or, if I’m not hyperbolizing, it’s in WAY more ingredient lists than you’d find in Canadian products. It’s bad enough that sunflower oil is in, like, 90% of “allergen-free” treats over here, but in Ireland, it’s in the ‘normal people’ food too! (Sunflower oil, please go away.)

Now, if we could remove coconut from the list of tree nuts in the US (because it’s actually a fruit), maybe the we could start making the transition to a wonderful alternative. Like seriously, let’s get it off that list, and ever so slowly start replacing sunflower oil with a much better alternative: coconut oil.

And here are 3 reasons why:

Selfish reason #1: My son is allergic to sunflower.

Selfish reason #2: We’re considering a move to Ireland in the New Year. And, well, sunflower.

Really good reason: Sunflower oil isn’t as healthy as all those ‘health’ articles would have you believe.

Don’t believe it?

Well, our friends at The Good Chew make a pretty convincing argument for why we should be moving away from sunflower oil as our “healthy” choice. See, Founder & Baker Stacy Brooks also happens to be a Holistic Nutritionist, and she’s got a lot to say about why we should say good-bye to the sunflower oil fad… and fast! Give her short essay a read:

When deciding on oils to use in your baking at home or when choosing a product to feed yourself and your family, sometimes it’s important to look beyond the nutritional facts table to find out what is truly a healthier product for you.

Let’s turn our focus to two specific types of healthy cooking oils: sunflower oil and coconut oil. On the surface there is not much of a difference, sunflower oil might even look more appealing as its saturated fat content is a little less overall.

However, there is something critical we need to consider when analyzing these two items; all saturated fats are not created equal. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids, which your body can digest more easily and is broken down and converted into energy at a quicker rate. Aside from sunflower oil containing long chain fatty acids, these items are also hydrogenated so the sunflower oil can cook at a higher temperature and maintain a longer shelf life, but by doing so they have introduced trans fatty acids into their foods.

The breaking down of these trans fatty acids can lead to some health concerns in the long run when consuming on a daily basis. Sunflower oils can increase a person’s LDL, which is the bad cholesterol in your body. Coconut oil also increases your cholesterol, but it has a greater effect on the HDL, or the good cholesterol in your body.

With the growing concern of allergens in foods, studies have linked sensitivities to sunflowers for many people allergic to ragweed. Ragweed and their related plants are a common allergy and anyone who has sensitivities to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family should take precautions around any foods containing sunflower oil.

For these reasons and more, coconut oil has begun to surpass sunflower oil as the key healthy oil for baking. 

I don’t know about you, but I had NO idea that there was a relationship between ragweed and sunflower allergies . Thanks to The Good Chew for sharing their nutritional expertise with us.

P.S. Check out the amazing organic ingredients they use in their delectable brownies below. (This post is not sponsored — I actually just love their stuff that much!!)

Screenshot 2018-12-17 at 15.26.27


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