WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new soybean developed by government scientists yields oil that, once processed, has far less heart-damaging fats and other substances than other cooking oils.
The oil straight from the soybean has less than half the saturated fat of conventional varieties. Also, it does not have to go through a process that produces artery-clogging trans fatty acids.
Soybean oil is used in foods from margarine to crackers. Food manufacturers are eager to find a healthier version, because the Food and Drug Administration plans to require the listing of trans fats on food labels.
The soybean holds ''excellent potential'' for food makers and ''will provide the needed flexibility to be used in a wide variety of products,'' the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils, which represents companies that process vegetable oils, said.
''Just by changing the kind of oil that's used by food manufacturers and restaurants would go a long way to reducing heart disease in this country,'' Margo Wootan, director of nutritional policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said.
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