Canola oil, otherwise known as rapeseed oil, is an oil growing in popularity in the Western world due to its supposed ‘healthiness’ as well as the fact that it is cheap to produce, and therefore, consume. Many people who follow conventional wisdom are switching to canola oil as their oil of choice for frying, roasting and baking – but the more you learn about it, the more you realise it really isn’t a good choice…
It may seem strange, but the name ‘canola’ actually has no relevance to the plant it is made from whatsoever. In fact, ‘canola’ was a name chosen by the board of the Rapeseed Association of Canada – the ‘Can’ part standing for Canada, and the ‘Ola’ referring to oil. These marketing companies really aren’t geniuses, are they!?
Like any seed oil, rapeseed requires industrial scale processing to be turned into an oil. It is made my heating and then crushing the seed, before refining with hexane, bleaching with clay, and then deodorizing using steam distillation. You wouldn’t eat an animal or vegetable that had been refined, bleached, and deodorized, so why should your oil be any different? We are all wise enough to know by now that ‘refined’ is a word that is most definitely doesn’t fit the Paleo blueprint.
Canola oil is marketed as a ‘healthy’ product because it is low in saturated fat. We know by now that saturated fat isn’t a bad thing – nope, quite the opposite. Saturated fat provides us with a pure, easy to metabolise form of energy – and that’s why I cook in coconut oil whenever I can. Canola oil also doesn’t stand up well to heat, and goes rancid at fairly low temperatures – especially in comparison to stable fats like coconut oil, palm oil and ghee. Canola oil is high in erucic acid, a well known toxin that causes myocardial lipidosis (fatty degeneration of the heart). The majority of Canola oil is also genetically modified to be herbicide resistant.
Canola oil is also marketed as ‘healthy’ because it has a good Omega 3:6 ratio – approximately 2 parts omega 6 to 1 part omega 3. We know that the ideal ratio is 1:1; but, it’s worth holding our hands up and admitting that a 2:1 ratio is pretty good. However, we also know that omega 3s do not stand up well to heat. As Canola oil is processed using high temperatures, the omega 3 turns rancid quickly and is rendered useless – or even worse – toxic. What you are left with is a nasty, omega 6 rich liquid. Oh, and it doesn’t even taste good!
The more you learn about Canola oil, the more you realise you are better off without it. It’s not a healthy choice at all, it’s just another product devised by intelligent marketing companies trying to sell a product at the expense of your health.
What are your opinions on Canola oil? Do you use it, or do you prefer olive oil, coconut oil, lard and ghee?