Possible Problems with Canola Oil

There are two varieties of the anti-canola debate. One says it is only harmful when it is damaged as are all highly processed unsaturated cooking oils. The other says not to use it no matter how fresh it is. The viewpoints are explained in the two short reprints below.


Be Careful of Canola

From Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, June 1998

Relatively unknown just a decade ago, canola oil is now found in many foods, especially health foods, and it is considered by many nutritionists as one of the healthiest cooking oils. Canola oil is thought to be the second highest vegetable source of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients reputed to boost heart health by effectively lower serum triglyceride levels and reducing platelet aggregation. In addition, canola oil is high in monounsaturated oleic acid, a cholesterol-reducing substance.

Despite canola oil's healthy reputation, popular acceptance, and excellent nutritional composition, it may be toxic when used in cooking. This is because omega-3s, one of canola's nutritional strengths, become damaged if the oil is heated. Whether through cooking or processing, heating distorts the omega-3 molecules, converting them into the trans form that can elevate total cholesterol, and lower the good HDL cholesterol.

Refined canola oil, typically found in conventional food stores, is usually exposed to high temperatures, deodorizing and bleaching. Its health-giving constituents are processed away, and its omega-3s converted into the undesirable trans form. Even "lightly refined" and "expeller pressed oils can be exposed to deodorizing, which may raise the oil temperature to a sizzling 450 deg F

The best way to enjoy the health benefits of canola oil is to buy the unrefined variety, and use it exclusively in cold preparations, such as salad dressings. Other, more heat-resistant oils, such as extra Virgin olive oil, unrefined sesame oil or high-oleic sunflower oil are better for cooking.

(Editor: Canola oil is made from a strain of rapeseed - a naturally toxic plant - that has been bred to be nontoxic. Some people do not trust that all the toxins are removed, and, therefore, do not use canola oil in any form.)


David Lawrence Dewey had this to say about canola oil on his website at http://www.dldewey.com:

Update on Canola Oil

There is much controversy over canola oil. There has been widely circulated emails on the internet that have distorted the facts about canola oil. This is not to dismiss other facts that canola oil may not be as healthy a oil as it has been claimed to be. Canola oil first began with Rapeseeds that were hybrinized to breed out toxic erucic acid which is known to be toxic to animals and humans. However, it was later genetically altered and this is where I have most of my concerns. To make matters worse, over 60,000 bags of these seeds were genetically altered in the wrong way and not approved for human use. They were shipped with the wrong gene! These seeds were planted, harvested and researchers are scared to death of the potential health threat they pose. The information is considerable, so you will need to read this report I have writen concerning this controversy about canola oil. This site also has additional information concerning canola oil.

The amount of canola oil that is contained in the Smart Balance margarine I recommended is not significant enough I feel to be concerned about at this time. However, what does complicate the matter is the refining process that companies use for grocery store bought oils. They contain trans-isomers, (plastic like substances). All oils used for cooking should be expeller cold pressed unrefined oils. These usually can only be found at health food stores.

Here is a list of foods which have been scientifically documented in the International Food Microbial 20-211-226. They should be avoided because they are high in pleomorphic bacteria, yeast, fungus and mold and produce mycotoxins that have been documented to cause specific diseases and very specific organ lesions in both animals and in humans and should never be ingested and if any, only in very small amounts. Also, recent studies involving soybean oil, once also thought to be beneficial, may actually cause tumors.

My advise is this. Use olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil or sunflower oil.