Sunflower oil is produced by extracting the oil from the seeds and heads of sunflower plants, which is then refined and filtered. Manufacturers often promote sunflower oil as being beneficial for weight loss, as it contains predominantly unsaturated fats. However, there are also many negative aspects of sunflower oil, which will not benefit you if you are looking to lose weight.
In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. To work out roughly how many calories you should eat each day to lose weight, multiply your bodyweight in pounds by 12. This will mean a 150 lb. person should eat roughly 1,800 calories per day. One tablespoon of sunflower oil contains around 120 calories. Considering that most people will use a liberal splash when cooking foods or making dressings, sunflower oil could easily add 240 extra calories to your meal, meaning you will have to watch your calories carefully for the rest of the day.
Sunflower oil contains mostly polyunsaturated fats, or PUFAs, which are often linked with increasing heart health. However, the PUFAs in sunflower oil are mainly omega 6 fatty acids. Most Western diets contain far too much omega 6 fat, and far too little omega 3. According to nutritionist Jonny Bowden, this can lead to health problems, increased fat accumulation and weight gain.
Sunflower oil has grown in popularity over the last 50 years as it is cheap to produce, and has a long shelf life. During the manufacturing process the oil is exposed to high heat, bleach and other chemicals, and is heavily refined, leaving it devoid of many of the nutrients present in sunflower seeds. This makes the oil highly oxidized, which can cause cell damage and inflammation within the body.
When cooking at high temperatures, coconut oil is your best choice. It is a highly stable oil, consisting of medium chain triglyceride fats, which may be beneficial for health, and do not turn rancid when exposed to high heat. For low temperature cooking and salad dressings, use extra virgin olive oil, which is rich in mono unsaturated fats.