Healthy Eating - properly fuel yourself for a long and vibrant life

Quick Tip: Stop demonizing canola oil. It is not poison.

Canola oil comes from a canola plant, not rapeseed.

Another nonsense food myth: canola oil is dangerous

Don't believe internet myths about canola oilIf you care about your health and work to avoid the SAD (standard American diet… which is pretty sad), you may have chosen to avoid canola oil after reading “health” news blogs. Most of these very popular blogs are the Chicken Little of the clickbait world. They cherry pick their research to only emphasize the points that agree with their “conclusion”. Instead, let’s go with real scientists in real academic settings.

Before I begin, I’ll offer this disclaimer that I don’t use canola oil. That’s because I like the taste of olive oil (virgin and extra virgin as they have not been deodorized). Most commercial oils are deodorized because people don’t like the smell and taste of the oils in their natural state. I do. So I choose not to use any standard vegetable oils.

I don’t use them but it doesn’t mean they’re unhealthy.

Let’s hit the top 3 reasons canola oil is dangerous to your health.

myth: Canola oil is processed using hexane, a highly volatile solvent that is highly dangerous to human health.

truth

It has been estimated that refined vegetable oils extracted with hexane contain approximately 0.8 milligrams of residual hexane per kilogram of oil (0.8 ppm) (2). It is also estimated that the level of ingestion of hexane from all food sources is less than 2% of the daily intake from all other sources, primarily gasoline fumes.Dr. Guy Crosby - Harvard University

So while hexane is unhealthy to ingest, 98% of what you take in, you breathe in.  And specific to canola oil, less than one part per million is hexane residue. So as percentages go, that’s 0.00008%. Plus, you can and should choose cold pressed or expeller pressed oils anyway. And you easily buy cold or expeller pressed canola oil.

myth: Canola oil is made from rapeseed, which is not suited for human consumption.

truth

Canola oil comes from a hybrid plant developed in Canada during the late 1960s to early 1970s using traditional pedigree hybrid propagation techniques (not genetically modified) involving black mustard, leaf mustard, and turnip rapeseed. The original rapeseed plant was high in erucic acid, which is an unpalatable fatty acid having negative health effects in high concentrations. Canola oil contains less than 1 percent erucic acid. In fact, another name for canola oil is LEAR (Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed) oil.Go Ask Alice - Columbia Univeristy

So not only is it a modified version of rapeseed, the rapeseed is only one of three different seeds used to create the hybrid.


myth: You shouldn’t use canola oil because it contains trans-fatty acids.

truth

As a comparison, the fat of cattle and sheep, as well as the milk obtained from cows, contain about 2-5% of natural trans-fat as a percent of the total fat (3). Trans Content (%) Canola* oil: 1.9-3.6% Of potentially greater concern is the formation of oxidation products of polyunsaturated fatty acids during prolonged commercial deep-fat frying. But this is less of a concern for canola oil than for oils with higher levels of more readily oxidized polyunsaturated fat such corn, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oils.Dr. Guy Crosby - Harvard University

So natural animal fat has comparable amounts of trans-fatty acids.

Conclusion: If you prefer oils that have an essentially bland taste, canola oil is a completely safe and even healthy choice.

 

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