Fats in the diet are extremely important.Without the right ones, our bodies can not function properly.
However… there is a lot of confusion out there about the health effects of different fats and oils.
One cooking fat that is heavily marketed as a healthy choice is canola oil.It is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fats, including Omega-3 fatty acids.
The manufacturers call it the “world’s healthiest cooking oil” – although some experts disagree.
This article takes an in-depth look at canola oil and how it can affect your health
Back in the day, an oil called rapeseed oil was often used for industrial purposes.
It was cheap to produce, but people couldn’t eat it because it contained some unfavorable substances:
Erucic acid: a fatty acid that caused heart damage in some rat studies (1).
Glucosinolates: bitter compounds that made the oil taste bad (2).
A bunch of Canadian scientists wanted to turn rapeseed oil into an edible oil, so they used selective breeding techniques to “create” seeds that contained less of these harmful, bitter substances.
This is how canola was born… but “Canola” is a marketing term. It stands for Canadian Oil (some believe it stands for Canada Oil, Low Acid).
Canola is actually not a unique plant. It’s just a name for rapeseeds that have been bred to be low in these undesirable compounds.
Since the year 1995, biotech giant Monsanto has manufactured rapeseeds that are genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide RoundUp.
Today, about 90% of the world’s canola crop is genetically modified.If a picture speaks a thousand words, a video can speak a million.
This short video shows how canola oil is made. I recommend you watch it:
I don’t know about you… but this certainly doesn’t look “natural” to me.
It’s certainly nothing like the simple processes used to make other popular fats/oils, like butter, olive oil or coconut oil.
The mere fact that it is exposed to high heat should turn you away from this oil. It is high in polyunsaturated fats, which are very sensitive to high heat and easily become oxidized (rancid).
A toxic solvent called hexane is used to extract the oil from the seeds. Trace amounts of hexane have sometimes been found in cooking oils.
During this highly unnatural manufacturing process, some of the oil becomes damaged. You just can’t tell because the oil is also deodorized, which removes the smell.
One study analyzed canola and soybean oils found on store shelves in the U.S. They found that 0.56% to 4.2% of the fatty acids in them were toxic trans fats (3).
This is not listed on the label, unfortunately.Artificial trans fats are incredibly harmful and associated with many serious diseases, especially heart disease… the biggest killer in the world (4, 5).
However, keep in mind that cold-pressed and organic canola oil has not gone through the same process and won’t contain so many oxidized fats or trans fats.
Unfortunately, the great majority of rapeseed/canola oils are made with the industrial processing method.