The production in the EU of the oilseeds, rapeseed and sunflower, has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. Much of the oil produced after crushing is used for culinary purposes; this enhanced intake of vegetable oil has led to a substantial change of fatty acid (FA) supply. This has been conclusively demonstrated by taking the UK oil supply data and by use of the FA profile of the key oils converting the supply data into a FA profile of the UK market place for 2008-2012. The most marked changes are a reduction in saturated fat (SFA) and an increase in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) available for consumption. Furthermore the introduction of varieties of hi-oleic sunflower oil can further affect the market FA profile. The fat profiles of rapeseed and sunflower oils are considered healthy and they can have a positive impact when included in the diet, particularly as a replacement for oils or fats rich in SFA. In the UK and much of Europe, adult SFA intake continues to exceed recommendations. While reductions in the UK population’s SFA intake have occurred over the last 20 years, these are modest and it may be timely to identify ways in which SFA intake can be further reduced. To do this, the UK market FA supply data has been analysed alongside the profile of FA intake from adults recording their intake in national dietary surveys in order to identify if the market supply affects overall FA consumption. There is an indication that market oil supply is reflected in adults dietary intake of the main groups of FA. Consequently changes made to the oil profile of oilseeds by plant breeders and use of the resulting healthier oils by food manufacturers could have important roles to play in helping adults to achieve the recommended intake of SFA and also improve the overall fat quality in their diet leading to enhanced long-term health and well-being. Thus changes made in primary oilseed production supported by culinary use of these oils with a healthier profile could help support the UK’s Department of Health SFA Responsibility Deal and other similar National initiatives that are looking for industry pledges to offer sustained long-term reductions in SFA, consistent with healthy eating recommendations. Using the market supply to drive dietary change allows sectors of the population to be most resistant healthy eating messages and least likely to make dietary interventions to move to a healthier FA profile of intake with minimal personal intervention; in this case, health by stealth.
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