Canola is a hybrid oil that stands for Canadian oil, since it is grown, processed, and exported mostly from Canada. Olive oil comes from olives, peanut oil comes from peanuts, coconut oil comes from coconuts and canola oil comes from rapeseed.
Although there are reports to the contrary, here are several reasons to avoid canola oil. Clever marketing and uber persuasive advertising campaigns have successfully managed to convince millions of people that canola oil is actually a healthy option to cook with. It’s also used in a variety of different foods, and in things like margarine and processed foods.
What Is Canola Oil?
The oil we get from grape seeds is obviously grape seed oil; the oil we get from corn is corn oil, so surely canola oil must come from canola seeds?
Well…not exactly! There’s no such thing as a canola seed, at least not one that botanists have found on our planet. Canola oil is rapeseed derivitive, and in the past it was simply known as rapeseed oil. At that stage, rapeseed oil was not used in the food industry. Instead, it was primarily used as a lubricant in the industrial sector.
Later down the line, it did start finding its way into the food chain. Because it is so toxic however, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intervened and officially banned it in 1956, stating that it was unsafe for human consumption due to its high levels of erucic acid.
Why is it Bad For Your Health?
1 – Insecticides Are Bad For Your Health in General
Farmers spray their crops with pesticides, so what’s the big deal if they spray their canola crops as well? Our advice is to always stay as far away as possible from any foods that have been sprayed. Nonetheless, that’s not really what we’re getting at right now. To summarize, Canola oil itself is a remarkably good pesticide. In fact, it’s the key ingredient in many “non-chemical” pesticides.
2 – Canola Oil Is Produced From Genetically Modified Crops
Always a controversial subject, these days, genetic modification has made it possible for farmers to grow significantly more produce than ever before. Considering that the world’s population continues to increase year on year, many believe that modified crops will help us to avoid a potential food shortage in the future, but again, this is debatable.
More than 90% of all canola oil is produced from genetically engineered crops. So, would you use canola oil made from the 10% of crops that haven’t been modified?
3 – It is a ‘Hydrogenated’ Oil
All cooking oils, other than “cold pressed” or “extra virgin” are refined. This process typically includes degumming; bleaching and deodorizing. It also involves high temperatures and/or the use of some pretty nasty chemicals. Even if we choose to ignore the chemicals, we cannot escape the fact that the refining process causes the oil to become hydrogenated oil that contains health destroying trans fatty acids. Coincidentally, trans fatty acids are extremely harmful to cardiovascular health.
Genetic Modification Of Rapeseed
Growers had found by the ’70s a sure way to genetically modify rapeseed, in turn allowing them to produce oil with less erucic acid.
By reduced erucic acid, the oil was deemed safe for human consumption, and was originally sold as “Rape Oil” or “LEAR Oil” (Low Erucic Acid Rape) However, for marketing reasons the name was later changed to Canola Oil.
Genetic modification has been shown to be successful at lowering the erucic acid content, it also increased the amount of oleic acid, and this was once again a serious cause for concern because oleic acid has been linked to a number of health concerns, including the following:
- Retarded growth (banned in infant formulas)
- Abnormalities in blood platelets
- Damage from free radicals
- Increased risk of developing certain types of cancer
Genetically Modified Crops
In 2011 a review of 19 different studies that involved mammals being fed genetically modified soy and corn for a period of 90 days, found that GMO foods can disrupt kidney and liver function. The review which was published in “Environmental Studies Europe” and it states that in the trials mentioned, kidney function was reduced by 43.5% while liver function was reduced by 30.8%. Do you really want to put your health at this sort of a risk?
To summarize, healthy living and canola oil simply don’t go well together. There’s a lot of great alternatives available, including organic extra virgin olive oil; organic cold pressed coconut oil; butter or ghee coming from pastured cattle and etc. Need any more reasons to avoid canola oil? If you would like to find more reasons, then I would seriously recommend doing a few Google searches. I guarantee you, you’ll soon be avoiding canola oil as if it were the plague.