Why I stopped cooking with Canola oil

Canola oil has been claimed to promote good health due to its very low saturated fat and high monounsaturated fat content, and beneficial omega-3 fatty acid profile. The Canola Council of Canada states that it is completely safe and is the “healthiest” of all commonly used cooking oils.

So why did I stop cooking with Canola oil? To understand why, here is a bit of history.

The word “canola” was derived from “Canadian oil, low acid” using conventional plant breeding from rapeseed. The word “rape” from rapeseed comes from the Latin work “rapum” meaning turnip.

Traditional rapeseed oil contains higher amounts of erucic acid and glucosinolates, both have been deemed undesirable for human consumption by the USA FDA.

Erucic acid: The human liver can not metabolize small amounts of erucic acid without causing ill effects to the body, anything over 4% of erucic acid is considered toxic to the human body. In 1968 Dr. Baldur Stefansson of the University of Manitoba used selective breeding to develop a variety of rapeseed low in erucic acid. This was called LEAR oil(low erucic acid rapeseed).

This raises questions:

  • a) The processing of oil is not an exact science as each batch produces different amounts of erucic aicd, sometimes in amounts over the recommenced safe levels. Is the erucic acid in your canola oil within the safe limits?
  • b) How effectively is your liver working to detoxify 4% of erucic acid?

Glucosinolates: High levels of glucosinolates(know to produce goiters) are found in rapeseeds, and hem agglutinins(substances that promote blood clotting and depress growth) are found in the protein part of the rapeseed. In 1974, a variety was produced that was low in both and as a result produced a low-glycoside meal that could be used as an animal feed.

Darlene Bradley comments , “Rape oil was widely used in animal feeds in England and Europe between 1986 and 1991, when it was thrown out…Cattle were being fed on a mixture containing material from dead sheep, and sheep suffer from a disease called scrapie. It was thought this was how Mad Cow began and started to infiltrate the human chain. What is interesting is that when rape oil was removed from animal feed, scrapie disappeared… We also haven’t seen any further reports of Mad Cow since rape oil was removed from the feed.”

The Weston Price Foundation reports animal testing of canola oil indicates growth retardation, a higher incidence of heart lesions, decrease in platelet count and increase in platelet size, vitamin E deficiency, high blood pressure, and lowered life span. “Studies all point in the same direction… that canola oil is definitely not healthy for the cardiovascular system.”

Modern process of extracting the oils with high-pressure mechanical pressing along with industrial solvent residue in the oil in itself can be toxic. Canola oil then goes through the process of caustic refining, bleaching and degummin, followed by a deodorixation process with removes a large portion of the omega-3 fatty acids by turning them into trans-fatty acids. Research at the University of Gainsville have found trans-fatty acids levels as high as 4.6% in commercial liquid oil.

In 1996, a Japanese animal study reported that a special canola diet killed laboratory animal. A duplicate study was conducted by Canadian scientists and reported in Nutrition Research 1997, v17. The study noted that canola oil depleted the test animals of Vitamin E to dangerously low levels.

Today 80% of the acreage of canola sown is with Genetically Modified canola.

Thus, I now use Olive oil for cooking and Flax seed oil on raw dishes. Studies have shown oxidation and hydrogenation occurs to a lesser degree in olive oil than in other oils when heated.

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3 Responses to “Why I stopped cooking with Canola oil”

  1. Kathryn Merrow - The Pain Relief Coach Says:

    Thanks for this background on canola oil.

    I guess we are always better off when we stick to the most natural and oldest products, like olive oil and nut and seed oils.

  2. N. Victor Emmanuel Says:

    Why is the food cooked by cannola oil turn into green when kept under heat say after half and hour

  3. Deon Logemann Says:

    Great idea this. It is always difficult to thin of varied things to cook especially for a hungry family and some of the ideas here and elsewhere on your site have given me some great ideas so thak you!

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