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Myth: Canola oil is dangerous and poisionous if you use it often

TRUTH:  Canola, like other oils, comes from pressing the seeds of the canola plant – a man made species of edible rapeseed oil.  It came about in the late 70’s as an alternative use of Canadian rapeseed oil (which was traditionally used as a lubricant on ships but was poisonous to humans) with a few alterations.  Canola stands for “Canadian” (Can-) and “Oil low acid” (-ola) because the toxic acids in rapeseed are reduced in this strain of the plant.

Some people believe that canola is toxic, as it’s parent is the rapeseed plant.  It’s even processed with some of the same solvents of pink slime.  It hydrogenates (aka turns into saturated and trans fats) more easily than other vegetable oils, is cheap, grows well, stands up to high heat, and yields more oil per seed than another other oilseed.

Canola oil is highly processed and refined and one of the most heavily pesticide treated crops.  The heat that is used in the refining process (to deodorize it, because it’s so foul) likely destroys most of the benefit omega-3 fats.

BOTTOM LINE:  Canola oil is heart healthy oil because it has omega-3 fats and contains about 61% monounsaturated fats.  It’s recognized as safe by the FDA; however, it’s highly processed and refined.  Though there’s little evidence that hexane (or other toxic processing steps) treatment is harmful.  Instead, choose oils that are naturally derived and pressed like olive, vegetable (using soy, not canola), walnut, sesame, grape seed, avocado or peanut oil.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  1. Cleveland Clinic Health: Heart-Healthy Cooking: Oils 101
  2. Snopes Article

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