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LMU 113 – FDA approves MUFA Heart Claim


LMU 113 – Unlocking Heart Health: The Power of Oleic Acid-Rich Oils

Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration (November 19, 2018)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (November 29, 2018)


In the realm of nutritional wisdom, few revelations are as universally recognized as the health benefits of olive oil. This oil, celebrated for its nourishing properties, has been hailed for its potential to support overall well-being. For years, studies have extolled the virtues of olive oil, but its potential to bear a label of FDA-endorsed health benefits remained shrouded in ambiguity. This all changed on November 19, 2018, when the FDA made a groundbreaking announcement that may redefine how we perceive edible oils rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat.

A Landmark Decision: The FDA’s Verdict

After years of apprehension, the FDA extended its approval to manufacturers of edible oils teeming with oleic acid. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, is renowned for its potential health-boosting attributes. This watershed moment granted manufacturers the right to emblazon their packaging with a powerful proclamation, signalling a shift in the FDA’s stance. The new label claim reads as follows:

  • Supporting but not conclusive evidence suggests that daily consumption of about 1.5 tablespoons (20 gm) of oils containing high levels of oleic acid (at least 70%), may reduce risk of coronary heart disease.
  • This green light from the FDA was no small feat; it marked a departure from their previous hesitancy and opened the door to acknowledging the health-enhancing potential of oleic acid-rich oils.

Decoding the Claim: The Science Behind the Endorsement

At the heart of this monumental decision lies a confluence of scientific studies that illuminate the connection between oleic acid-rich oils and heart health. The FDA’s decision was anchored in a review of seven studies, six of which revealed that participants who integrated oils abundant in oleic acid into their diet—replacing fats high in saturated fat—experienced a modest reduction in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, commonly known as “bad cholesterol.” This promising revelation underpins the FDA’s assertion that these oils hold the potential to
mitigate the risk of coronary heart disease.

The Quartet of Fats: Understanding the Nuances

To fully appreciate the significance of this endorsement, it’s essential to navigate the realm of fats found naturally in our diets. These fats are categorized into four families:

  1. Saturated fat
  2. Polyunsaturated fat
  3. Monounsaturated fat
  4. Omega-3 fats

While the health detriments of saturated fats are well-established—elevated cholesterol levels, blood stickiness, and heightened inflammation—there’s more to the story. Within the realm of polyunsaturated fats, linoleic acid often takes center stage. However, its association with inflammation, increased cancer risk, and blood stickiness complicates the narrative. Enter oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat found abundantly in olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and various nuts. Research has uncovered its potential to quell inflammation, reduce cancer risk, and bolster
heart health. This burgeoning understanding has prompted the adjustment of edible oil compositions to elevate oleic acid levels and diminish linoleic acid content, reflecting consumer preferences.

French Maritime Pine Extract: A Star on the Rise

Among the trove of natural interventions, French Maritime Pine extract emerges as a potent contender. A captivating Italian study from August 2018 unveiled the extract’s potential in improving early-stage enlarged prostate problems. This extract aligns with the tenets of oleic acid-rich oils, particularly in its role in blocking the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Its dual action—countering inflammation and promoting antioxidant effects—bolsters the case for its inclusion in the pantheon of natural agents fostering heart health.

Embracing a Heart-Healthy Future

The FDA’s resounding approval of oleic acid-rich oils opens a new chapter in our approach to heart health. No longer confined to the realm of anecdotal wisdom, these oils now bear the imprimatur of scientific endorsement. As we reevaluate our dietary choices, the power of substituting high oleic acid foods and oils for saturated fats becomes palpable. Not only do these oils showcase their cholesterol-lowering prowess, but they also emerge as guardians against inflammation, insulin resistance, and the narrowing of arteries. The journey toward vibrant well-being assumes a new trajectory, guided by the promise of oleic acid-rich oils. Whether drizzling over salads, sautéing vegetables, or enhancing the flavor profile of our culinary creations, these oils have transcended their role as mere ingredients, metamorphosing into potent allies on our quest for lasting heart health.


1. U.S. Food & Drug Administration November 19, 2018. [FDA Announcement](

2. 2015 Review of Health Benefits of Oleic Acid (monounsaturated fat) [Read the study here](

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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