Canola oil. The perfect choice?
Have you ever wondered where Canola Oil comes from? Few people do, as they have heard over and over again from The American Heart
Association as well as the FDA that this oil is heart healthy and can be used as an alternative to more unhealthy oils. But is it
really? Here are some interesting facts about Canola Oil that you may not know...
Canola oil is pressed from the seeds of the rapeseed plant, a plant in the mustard family closely related to bok choi and
turnips. Rapeseed typically contains high levels of erucic acid (which makes oils go rancid quickly, is toxic in large doses, and
may cause cancer) and glucosinolate (which tastes so bitter and unpleasant that itís undesirable even in animal feed). But in the
1950s and 1960s, Canadian scientists began developing strains of it with lower levels of the problematic chemicals. In 1974, a University
of Manitoba professor introduced a rapeseed variety with extremely low erucic acid and glucosinolate content that was dubbed canola,
for CANadian Oil, Low Acid.
Thanks to the name (in Europe the oil is still called rapeseed oil) canola growers have spoken carefully
when describing their product. ďCanola is genetically different from rapeseed despite the fact that the plants are the same species". But, more
than 60 percent of the canola crop in Canada (where most of it is grown) comes from genetically modified seed, making it illegal in
Europe and opposed by activists throughout the world.
You will find, if you research this oil on the internet yourself, that
there is a large camp of huge supporters of this oil, and they will steadfastly defend the claims of it's safety as demonstrated by
the FDA's classification of this oil as GRAS (generally recognized as safe). I find it disturbing however, that great lengths
have gone into deceptively calling rapeseed oil by a different name so that it will be more "user friendly" and that the fact that
much of this oil is genetically modified.
Further, canola oil is actually a delicate oil that turns rancid very quickly. And we all
know that not many people are going to put up with knowingly ingesting rank, stale, decomposing oil. Thatís why the vegetable oil
industry has a little-known trick that they donít make public. Deodorizers are typically used in the making of canola oil. Like
all modern vegetable oils, canola oil goes through the process of caustic refining, bleaching and degumming ó all of which involve
high temperatures or chemicals of questionable safety. And because canola oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which easily become
rancid and foul-smelling when subjected to oxygen and high temperatures, it must be deodorized. The standard deodorization process
removes a large portion of the omega-3 fatty acids by turning them into trans fatty acids.
There are much safer and heart healthy oils
out there and their origins are not in question!