High oleic sunflower oil is high in monounsaturated fat. It has a significant amount of monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acids, which is what “high-oleic” signifies. Monounsaturated fat (oleic acid) is one of the two “healthy” fats, along with polyunsaturated fat (linoleic acid). Monounsaturated fat, in particular, can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. High-oleic sunflower oil is typically comprised of 75 – 82 percent monounsaturated fat and around nine percent linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat. Whatever is leftover are saturated fats.
High-oleic sunflower oil comes from a specific strain of sunflower seeds that sunflower breeders created because the food industry needed an oil with a long shelf life that wouldn’t break down at high cooking temperatures. Traditional sunflower oil, also called linoleic sunflower oil, which is made up of about 20 percent oleic acid and 68 percent linoleic acid, is less stable than the high oleic variety. That’s because the chemical structure of monounsaturated fats in high oleic sunflower oil makes them less susceptible to oxidation.