Canola Oil – A Healthy Oil Fraud?

Canola Oil
By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci

For years, canola oil has been marketed as one of the healthiest oils for salad dressings and cooking, but the truth is that this oil is far from healthy. The wildly controversial canola oil is everywhere – even in the seemingly healthiest of restaurants, but it’s far from “natural.”

Is canola oil lurking in your kitchen cabinet? If so, here’s why you should ditch it.

What is Canola Oil?

Canola oil comes from a seed called the “rapeseed,” and was once mainly used for industrial purposes. There is no “canola plant” found in nature — it’s a made up product that goes through extreme amounts of processing. Canola stands for “Canadian oil low acid,” because it was originally developed in Canada and the word “canola” sounded good for marketing at the time.

90% of canola oil has been genetically modified — and it’s very cheap to use, which is why almost all restaurants cook with it. Check out this video to see exactly how canola oil is produced – using lots of machinery, heat and harsh chemicals. Definitely not a natural process!

Here is an image I got from the Weston A. Price Foundation about how canola oil is processed:

What Affect Can Canola Oil Have on Health?

Canola oil is high in polyunsaturated fats – and when heated during processing, these fats can turn rancid and become trans fats. The rapeseeds used to make canola oil are processed with hexane (a harsh chemical solvent). The use of chemicals and the high heat process alters these unstable fats and turns them rancid.

Rancid (oxidized) oils produce free radicals in the body, leading to inflammation. This inflammation is the cause of chronic disease, weight gain, suppressed immune function and a host of other symptoms and conditions. There are plenty of other reasons to avoid highly processed vegetable and seed oils such as canola oil, but these reasons are a good place to start! Bottom line – this oil is not recognized in the body as food and it’s questionable whether it’s even remotely fit for human consumption.

Which Oils are Healthier Than Canola Oil?

Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter or ghee are all much better choices than canola oil. Do not be afraid of saturated fat! Although it may be difficult to avoid canola oil if you eat at restaurants a lot, you can certainly keep your home canola-free. I recommend cooking with coconut oil as the number one choice, because it can withstand higher heat, and using extra virgin olive oil at lower temperatures or in dressings and sauces.

Sources:

http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/the-great-con-ola
http://authoritynutrition.com/canola-oil-good-or-bad/

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  • Avoiding canola means always reading labels on everything that comes in a package or a box – even at your favorite health food store!

  • Debbie Evans

    What about sunflower and safflower oils?? Are those good substitutes for canola oil?

  • Loulou

    What about cold-pressed canola from Sweden?

  • Anonymous

    That sounds better, but I’d still choose olive oil or coconut oil!
    -Be Well Coach Laura

  • Anonymous

    Generally the seed oils are all manufactured in a similar way to canola oil and you are better off cooking with saturated fats, (e.g. ghee, coconut oil) which do not degrade and become rancid so easily, or olive oil if you are not using high heat.
    -Be Well Coach Laura

  • Totally disgusting video. I render my own tallow and lard and seriously, nothing tastes better or is better for you.

  • DLee

    Understood – any oil that is GMO or hydrogenated is suspect to me, and any rancid oil or oil manufactured and/or processed using poor methods is similarly to be rejected – but of course this would include coconut, olive, or any otherwise healthy oils.
    That said, how does non-GMO organic cold pressed canola oil stack up against the others?