Stop Using Canola Oil! (And a Little Rant About Fats).

Stop using canola oil!

Canola oil is made from either a rapeseed or mustard turnip/rape.  It is therefore a vegetable oil, sounds healthy, right? 

The Canola council of Canada considers it relatively safe.  It's always interesting to see the company that manufactures the product consider it safe!  And not only that, but just relatively safe?

Throughout this blog I plan on educating you further about how this commonly used cooking oil, which is also used as a biodiesel should not be found in your kitchen!

Canola oil is lower in saturated fat and higher in unsaturated fat.  You may have commonly heard saturated fats as the ‘bad fats’ and unsaturated as the ‘good fats’.  It is important to have the right balance and quantity of both fats in your diet.  Chemically speaking, saturated fat means that the carbon chain of the molecule contains all it’s hydrogen atoms.  Unsaturated means the carbon chain contains a double bond, and as a result there are carbon atoms without hydrogen attached to them.  This picture describes what I mean below:

  sat vs unsat fat

What does this mean in terms of our health?  Saturated fats are found in meats, dairy, and all types of processed foods (including pastries, chips etc.).  Unsaturated fats are foods such as olives, nuts, and avocados. 

Both types of fat play a role in our diet.  Fat should not be eliminated, and saturated fats should not be feared.  A low fat diet in itself can lead to a variety of other issues (primarily hormonal issues, issues with the immune system, fuel for the heart, and the membranes of our brain and tissues).  Should we eliminate saturated fats?  I believe that processed foods containing saturated fats should be eliminated, but whole foods like organic animal meats are to be included in a proper healthy diet.  Why is it ok to eat saturated fats from animal products, but not other sources?  The saturated fats in processed foods have been hydrogenated, a processing of the fat to make it more self stable, this type of processing creates a product that is foreign and unhealthy to the body.  The saturated fats in animal meats are natural.  Unsaturated fats should be chosen more often, but saturated fats can and should be present.  For the past 50 years the ‘low fat’ diet has been growing in popularity, while at the same time heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Stroke and Cancers have also all been on the rise, so to me, the argument that low fat diets are heart healthy and prevent disease might not be working!

Unsaturated oils like olive oil, and various nut oils do play a role in our diet, at low temperatures, but Canola oil doesn’t.  Canola oil contains a ratio of 2:1 Omega 6’s to 3’s.  This is an unhealthy ratio of Omega fatty acids.  A proper healthy diet should contain a larger proportion of Omega 3’s, and not Omega 6 and 9’s, this is how our ancestors diet looked.  Omega 6’s and 9’s produce inflammation in the body, whereas Omega 3’s do not.  Inflammation is the precursor to many and most diseases, therefore it is very important to decrease the 6’s and 9’s as much as we can by decreasing processed foods and poor oils like Canola, as well as increase our Omega 3 intake.  Here is a chart that shows how certain oils vary in Omega 3’s and 6’s. 

omega 3 content
This is why so many people take fish oil!  They want to increase their Omega 3’s in the diet, in relation to the 6’s and 9’s, and as a result decrease inflammation in the body and prevent disease.

So far we know to avoid Canola oil because it is a processed unsaturated fat, and it contains a poor ratio of Omega 3’s to 6’s. 

Have you heard of the Roundup Ready crops?  For the last 30 years or so crops have been grown by a company known as Monsanto to resist herbicides so that they can grow mass quantities while still being sprayed with herbicides to avoid weeds and bugs and still come out with a good crop load.  A roundup ready crop is a genetically modified crop, meaning it has been altered for improved crop yield, and is not natural for the body.  Canola oil is a roundup ready crop, and roughly 87 % of it is genetically modified.  Crops like corn have been estimated at being close to 100 % genetically modified!  Not only that but Monsanto has a patent on their seeds, so that farmers are not allowed to replant the same seeds year after year, so they have to reinvest money in purchasing the seeds each year.  This one company has created an economy of genetically modified crops that are poor for our health by taking a perfectly healthy vegetable and modified it’s DNA!   While at the same time it is putting small farming businesses out of practice.  Just another reason to avoid oils such as Canola and find an oil that is manufactured and farmed sustainably and naturally, without modification.     

Now that you are going to stop using Canola (and other vegetable oils) you need to pick some good oils for your health!
One of the first things you want to think of is smoke points.  Palm oil, coconut oil, soybean oil, sunflower, and peanut oil are the oils with the highest smoke point.  What this means is that the oil becomes less stable (cancer causing) at a higher smoke point.  This means these are the best oils to heat in a frying pan because they stay stable at high heats, and don’t become carcinogenic when you cook them.  Oils with a lower smoke point like canola, flaxseed and olive oil become carcinogenic at a much lower smoke point.  They are better used cold such as on salads.
Choose your oils appropriately depending on if you are heating them or using them on a salad. 

When choosing an oil also think about:
–       The Omega 3/6/9 ratio, we saw that fish oil and flax oil are high in 3’s.  You won’t want to cook with fish oil, but a good quality flax oil is great on a salad (it has a lower smoke point and shouldn’t be heated).
–       How is this oil produced and manufactured?  That 3.99 bottle of olive oil on the shelf is probably not your best choice in terms of a properly produced oil.  During manufacturing various chemicals and processes take place in some of the cheaper products.  When extremely high heats and deodorizers are used these products become rancid and unhealthy for consumption. 
o   When buying any oil look for unrefined and unfiltered on the labels.
o   When buying olive oil look for extra virgin, unrefined, unfiltered.   Extra virgin ensures you aren’t getting a blend of some refined and some unrefined oils. 

So as a review we have learned that:
–       Canola oil is a synthetic (artificial) unsaturated fat, which makes it not natural and unhealthy for the body.  Unsaturated fats are healthy for the body, but in their natural form (Olives). 
–       Canola oil contains an abundance of the Omega’s (6 and 9) that causes inflammation and disease in the body, as opposed to the healthy Omega 3’s. 
–       Canola oil is a genetically modified crop, which more and more research is showing is not good for our health.  As well as it is produced primarily from a company that is taking over farming in North America, which is not good for small local farmers and our economy. 
–       It has a low smoke point, so shouldn’t even be used to cook at higher heats.
–       And there is just something about consuming a product that can also run a vehicle that just seems plain wrong to me…

Questions or Comments?  Post below!

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