What is High-Oleic Sunflower Oil?


[Updated May 4, 2018]

Q: What is high-oleic sunflower oil? I have been seeing it on labels.

Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory, explains:

A:High-oleic sunflower oil is a type of plant oil made from sunflower seeds that have been conventionally bred to be high in oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid) and low in linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated fatty acid). There is a minimum of 80% oleic acid in high-oleic sunflower oil. In comparison, traditional sunflower oil has less oleic acid (around 20%) and more linoleic acid. Both high-oleic and traditional sunflower oils are low in saturated fatty acids. Either type of sunflower oil is a good choice from a cardiovascular standpoint, but the traditional oil is less commonly sold in stores or used by the food industry.

“Because oleic acid has fewer double bonds in its chemical structure than linoleic acid, high-oleic sunflower oil is less susceptible to oxidation (which can result in rancidity) than traditional sunflower oil. So, high-oleic sunflower oil is more stable when used for cooking (including high-heat, deep frying used by food companies), and products made with it have a longer shelf life.”

To learn more: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, May 2017

To learn more: National Sunflower Association


  1. My husband underwent a Kausche Whipple 7-17-19 due to 7cm duodenal tumor with High density displasia cell. He suffered every complication plus Kidney failure which slowed his recovery. A week after the surgery, he started suffering from multiple daily horrific intestinal pain incidents. They have reduced to once a day and he can sometimes go a few days without a pain incident. All throughout he described them as someone grabbing and twisting his intestines. Last month, he was hospitalized twice within 11 days (2 nights and 4 nights respectively) for an intestinal obstruction. Now, added to his original pain incidents, is a knife like stabbing pain, closer to his stomach. We have assiduously followed all dietary suggestions, of which there have been an endless stream of contradictory regimens from Dr, to Dietitian, to Pharmacist. No evidence of new tumors on X-Ray, CT, or PET scan. No one has a clue. 5mg Liquid Oxymorphone, only when he absolutely cannot bear the pain, helps though he avoids it since he loses a day and a half of normal life and hates the drug hangover. He has not been able to gain back the nearly 30 pounds lost and at 5’11” and 137 pounds current weight this is trouble. He is mildly nauseous all the time. Recommendations for supplemental meals say to stay away from fiber, and avoid sunflower oil however, Benecalorie, Ensure, etc, contains it. Benecalorie has high Oleic, Ensure and others just state Sunflower Oil as 3rd or 5th ingredients. Any suggestions?

  2. Extra Virgin Olive oil? Sunflower oil is high in linoliec (w-6) fatty acid (High oleic (w-9) much less so). High intakes of omega-6 are pro inflammatory and need to be balanced with w-3 (fish oil). Olive oil is naturally high in oleic and generally not processed and has lots of health benefits such as anti-inflammatory containing antioxidents .


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