Is canola oil really a wonder oil? It is lauded as the healthiest cookng oil by many health advocates, but research paints a very different picture- one that will make you think twice about purchasing it.
Canola Oil: What is it made from?
Canola oil stands for (Can)ada (O)il (L)ow (A)acid, and it is derived from rapeseed plant. Originally, rapeseed oil was banned by the FDA in 1956 for human consumption, because of its high toxicity. It contained high amounts of Erucic acid which has been linked to heart damage, emphysema, respiratory illnesses, constipation and even blindness. Rapeseed oil contains 40-50% of erucic acid which is primarily used in lubricants, polyester, cosmetics, nylon and other industrial purposes. Rapeseed is shown to be poisonous to humans and animals, which makes it a great insect repellant.
Plus, did you know that Canada paid FDA a whopping $50 million to have rape recognized as safe?
By 1970, Canada successfully hybridized a low erucic acid rapeseed plant, which is what canola oil is derived from.
The Heavy Processing Makes its Safety Questionable
Canola oil is consumable, but it is not recommended. It is very cheap to manufacture which is why it’s used in many packaged foods.
The fatty acid profile of Canola oil is supposed to contain 10% Omega-3 fatty acids, but when heated above 120 F, this gets converted to trans fat- one of the worst type of fat for our body.
Trans fatty acids are known to clog arteries with fat. It increases the level of LDL, or bad cholesterol, and lowers HDL. It also increases your chances of getting Diabetes 2 and other serious heart conditions like atherosclerosis, cholesterol and heart attack.
The current oil extraction practice is very poor. The seeds have to undergo high temperature mechanical processing and solvent extraction, with small traces of solvent—mostly hexane– still found in the oil. It goes through a thorough refining process where it is bleached and degrummed using questionable chemicals in very high temperatures.
The omega 3 fatty acid when exposed to high temperature, and oxygen, turns foul smelling because of which the oil needs to be deodorized. This process causes most of the healthy omega 3 fatty acid to convert to the dangerous trans fat. But what you do get is a clean, nice smelling oil in a bottle.
Almost 90% of the U.S and Canadian Canola Crop is Genetically Modified. Canola is part of many GMO projects, where the seeds are genetically modified to enhance or get imbued with certain traits.
What are the safest alternatives when it comes to oils?
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is good for your heart, thyroid, boosting up your metabolism, promoting weight loss, and strengthening your immune system.
Coconut oil contains loads of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), as opposed to vegetable or seed oils which contain Long chain triglycerides that gets stored as fat as they are much more difficult to break down by your body.
MCT’s are easier to digested and are immediately metabolized by your liver for fuel. This promotes a leaner body and a slimmer waistline.
Important note: When purchasing coconut oil, make sure not to buy a refined version. Stick with cold pressed coconut oil.
Olive Oil: Cooking with olive oil is not a good idea because it has a low smoke point- the temperature at which the oil starts losing all its nutrients. High heat can destroy Vitamin E, and the bioactive compounds called phenols- Dihydroxyphenols and Hydroxytyrosol- in olive oil. Also, high heat messes up the chemical structure of the olive oil making it more prone to oxidative damage.
However, they make for some of the healthiest salad dressing. Olive oil is incredibly rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants. It helps ward of cancer, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, stroke and more.
Along with canola oil, stay away from corn, soybean and safflower oils as well.
Oil is the base of healthy cooking. No matter which super food elements you decide to cook, if the oil you use is genetically modified and of poor quality, the nutrition level of your entire meal will be compromised. Opt for an organic, GMO free, extra virgin, cold pressed alternative. It will keep all your vital organs healthy and help you reach your fitness goal much faster.
In the comments below, tell us which oil do you cook your meals in?