Canola oil has been marketed as a healthy choice for cooking, widely used in many homes and most restaurants. However, the truth of the matter is that Canola oil is just about anything but healthy! Yet, the FDA has not only deemed it safe for consumption, but actually supports it being labeled “healthy.”
Canola oil was originally developed in Canada, Canadian “ola”, which means oil. Canola oil comes from a seed called rapeseed and was mostly used for industrial purposes. Rapeseed oil was the source of the chemical warfare known as mustard gas. The US banned rapeseed back in 1956 when soldiers and civilians began experiencing blistered lungs and skin. The canola plant does not occur naturally in the wild, but instead has been bred by BIG agriculture. In other words, it is a genetically modified plant, or GMO. Since Canola oil is cheap to manufacture and mass produce, it was modified to remove the lethal eruric acid. It took the food industry over a decade of genetic engineering to obtain the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) nod from the FDA. Initially the rapeseed name was changed to LEAR (low eruric acid rapeseed), and then to Canola Oil.
Canola oil is touted as healthy for its 55-65% monounsaturated fat, like found in other healthy fats such as avocados, raw nuts, and virgin olive oil. However, it also contains around 35% of polyunsaturated fat. Aside from the facts above, this highly processed and refined oil – just like corn and soybean oils – are unstable under heat, light, and pressure. These conditions oxidize the polyunsaturated fats and increase the free radicals in the body leading to inflammation, damaged cells, weight gain, and contributes to other degenerative diseases. Canola oil hardens through the hydrogenation process rendering a high level of trans fatty acids that increase the shelf life of processed foods and make cookies and crackers even crispier – and that much more dangerous for the consumer. Just take a look at all of the craziness involved in its extraction production:
Canola oil has been touted as “heart-healthy” since it is low in saturated fat, high in monosaturates, and a ‘good’ source of omega-3 fatty acids. The problem with this is two-fold. Firstly, those omega 3’s are converted into unhealthy trans fats during the deodorization process. Secondly, the latest research shows us that we have been wrong about saturated fats all along and we do in fact need them. So while misleading tactics shout that Canola is a great anti-inflammatory, it is anything but.
Canola oil depletes Vitamin E, shown to increase lung cancer and heart disease, shortened the lifespan of animals and/or lowered their platelet count, increases triglycerides by some 47%, and increases the rigidity of membranes factoring into aging and degenerative diseases. Additionally, numerous health side effects have been indicated in the consumption of GMO food products, including liver and kidney damage. These vital organs play an intricate role in Gout and Inflammatory related disease control.
What are better oil alternatives?
– Coconut Oil- NOT refined! Cold pressed and virgin only. This oil has a high heat threshold.
– Olive Oil- Organic and extra-virgin or cold-presssed. Not necessarily the best oil for high-heat cooking options, but also not the worst by any mean.
– Organic Pasture-Raised Butter or Ghee
– Red Palm Oil- Look for Certified Sustainable. When unrefined it is high in Vitamins A and E and can withstand high heat cooking.