What are sunflower oil benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are sunflower oil pros and cons and how buying it will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers.
Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on sunflower oil benefits and side effects.
You are going to learn all about sunflower oil benefits and side effects. This will include sunflower oil benefits for your health and potential risks, sunflower oil water footprint and sunflower oil carbon footprint, sunflower oil sustainability, if sunflower oil is vegan or impacts animals in other ways, and much more.
After learning if sunflower oil is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about sunflower oil benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.
Must-Know Sunflower Oil Benefits And Side Effects
Sunflower oil health benefits may include:
- better digestion
- boosted energy
- strengthened immunity
- lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
- reduced risk of heart disease
- fight acne (topically)
- eczema (topically)
- inflammation and general redness and irritation of the skin (topically)
- prevent hair thinning (topically)
- control frizzy hair and combat hair dryness and damage (topically)
- slow aging
Sunflower oil side effects may include:
- Alzheimer’s and heart disease (when heated at high temperatures)
- weight gain
Additionally, sunflower oil is…
Water footprint: high, it takes 6,792 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of refined sunflower oil / 814 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of refined sunflower oil
Carbon footprint: high, 3.3 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of sunflower seed oil, a car driving equivalent of 7.75 miles or 12.5 kilometers
Destruction: high, high carbon footprint + high water footprint = a relatively unsustainable ingredient, especially compared to alternatives
Sunflower oil is…
Kills: none, sunflower oil production does not require any animals to be killed
Harms: none, sunflower oil production does not require any animals to be used
Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from sunflower oil production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat
Sunflower oil is…
- Harmful to wildlife and ecosystems unless organic
Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible
Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation
Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits
- May involve worker exploitation, laborer issues, human rights concerns
The world’s top sunflower oil exporting country is Ukraine, followed by Bulgaria, Netherlands, France, Hungary, Romania, Spain, Moldova, Argentina and Mexico.
Ukraine is the world’s leading sunflower oil producer followed by Russia, Argentina and Turkey.
In the United States, South Dakota is the largest producer of sunflowers followed by North Dakota and Texas.
All sunflower oils are 100% fat and a good source of vitamin E. Sunflower oils do not contain protein, carbs, cholesterol, or sodium.
sunflower oil is neutral.
Is sunflower oil alkaline or acidic?
Sunflower oil is neutral.
What is the pH level of sunflower oil?
Sunflower oil has a 7.0 pH level, once digested.
When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.
Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List
sunflower oil is gluten free.
Is sunflower oil gluten free?
Yes, sunflower oil is gluten free. Sunflower oil does not contain gluten. Sunflower oil is made from sunflower seeds, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food.
While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…
Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:
- recurring abdominal pain
- chronic diarrhea
- numbness in hands and feet
- chronic fatigue
- joint pain
- unexplained infertility
- low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.
Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List
sunflower oil is not a common food allergen.
Is sunflower oil a common food allergen?
No, sunflower oil is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to sunflower oil but it is relatively rare by comparison.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
sunflower oil has a high water footprint.
Does sunflower oil have a high or low water footprint?
Sunflower oil has a relatively high water footprint compared to other foods.
What is the water footprint of sunflower oil?
It takes 6,792 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of refined sunflower oil / 814 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of refined sunflower oil.
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
sunflower oil has a high carbon footprint.
Does sunflower oil have a high or low carbon footprint?
Sunflower oil has a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods.
What is the carbon footprint of sunflower oil?
It takes around 3.3 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of sunflower seed oil, a car driving equivalent of 7.75 miles or 12.5 kilometers.
Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.
When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…
- farm equipment
- animal feed production
- hothouses (greenhouses)
- food processing
- package waste and more
But that’s not all!
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
sunflower oil is unsustainable.
Overall, is sunflower oil eco friendly? Is sunflower oil sustainable?
Sunflower oil production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.
A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’
sunflower oil is vegan.
Is sunflower oil vegan?
Yes, sunflower oil is vegan. Sunflower oil is an oil made from sunflower seeds and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food.
Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.
Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.
Go vegan for animals!
It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.
Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List
sunflower oil is a product that may or may not have labor issues.
Is sunflower oil a product with labor concerns?
At this time there have been no major concerns with sunflower oil production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!
It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade‘
This post was all about sunflower oil benefits and side effects.
New Idea Food: sunflower oil
Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade – USDA Foreign
Sunflower oil – FoodData Central – USDA
Adriane MarieHi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.
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