The Canola Con
by Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S.
We have all been fooled “again”..
Just when you think we are doing something good for our bodies we learn that we have been conned.
This has led to today’s case of the Canola Con!
How many people use canola oil for cooking?
How many people choose mayonnaise, salad dressings, baked goods, and other processed foods containing canola oil?
I would say a bunch!
In addition, the major fast food chains brag that they no longer have trans fats, but have switched to canola oil. They use it for their french fries, burgers, salad dressings and baked goods, exchanging it or trans fatty acid-laden genetically engineered soybean oil.
Would I eat it? No.
I remember a few months ago scratching my head trying to figure out why some of my patients had high levels of trans fats (or trans fatty acids) showing up on their fatty acid profile blood test.
Of course these patients swore they were not eating foods that had trans fats. So with some detective work and a little deeper investigation, I discovered that these same patients were in fact using canola oil.
From their perspective they were told that canola oil was supposed to be healthier than soy, cottonseed, safflower and corn oil.
I tended to agree with them until I discovered some interesting facts that many folks were not aware of.
First and foremost you need to remember that canola oil is a genetically engineered product. This raised some red flags and made me very suspicious.
Have you ever seen a canola plant?
Of course not!
Believe it or not, from a molecular biochemical position canola oil actually has higher levels of trans fatty acids than the soybean and the other vegetable oils I mentioned above.
So you may be thinking, why are there more trans fatty acids in canola oil than in soybean oil and the other toxic oils?
The reason is because canola oil has a higher level of omega-3 oils. So in order to make that bottle last on the shelf, plus be able to withstand high heat cooking, you need over a dozen chemical stages to process canola into an oil that will not go rancid. These processes include not only hydrogenation but deodorization of the omega-3. This process can form as much as 40% trans fatty acids in canola, even more than soybean oil.
- Canola depletes vitamin E which will impact chronic diseases like heart, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.
- Canola increases the rigidity of membranes (which is a major aging factor and trigger for degenerative diseases like diabetes).
- Canola has the potential to damage hearts creating fibrosis impairing the action of vitamin E (crucial in inflammation).
- In human studies there was an increase in lung cancer as well as heart damage.
- Canola has been found to shorten the lifespan of animals and in others it lowers the platelet count and increases the size of the platelet cells.
- Daily canola oil raised the triglycerides a staggering 47%.
Interesting fact: In 1985 the Federal Register (official journal of the federal government of the United States) stated the FDA outlawed canola oil in infant formulas because it retarded growth.
Can you believe they knew a quarter of a century ago that it was not good for babies, but not it’s suddenly okay for everyone else.
Well the regulatory agencies have also been duped and simply have NOT done their research.
They have been deceived into believing that canola is the next best oil.
Many have vested their legislative careers in the oil change making it darn near impossible to admit this fatal error and turn this problem around.
It simply is not going to happen anytime soon.
Remember it took decades before the dangers of trans fat were finally exposed.
Regulator “authorities” have managed to ignore even the warnings of the Harvard School of Public Health that stated decades ago that there is no safe level of trans fats.
Here is a shocker you may not know.
In spite of the enormous proof of the dangers of trans fats (some of which were reported by Harvard researchers decades ago), the FDA has allowed food manufacturers to put the words “NO TRANS FATS” to be plastered on any label if there are less than 500 mg of trans fats per puny 1/2 cup serving.
Again Harvard researchers showed ages ago that there is no safe level of trans fats, since trans fats have grossly changed the fundamental chemistry of our cell membranes.
The sad thing is many people think they are safe and knowledgeable in choosing canola oil, because they have fallen for the hype without finding out the facts for themselves. The bottom line is you don’t want to ingest any food containing GMO canola oil or hydrogenated vegetable oils (soy, cottonseed, safflower and corn).
Butter, grape seed oil, olive oil (preferably cold-pressed, unfiltered, extra virgin) are great for cooking and for salad dressings. It goes without saying any oil in dark glass is preferred over plastic as well.
Calabrese C., et al, A cross-over study of the effect of a single oral feeding of medium chain triglyceride oil vs. canola oil on post-indigestion plasma triglyceride levels in healthy men, Altern Med Rev 4; 1:23-28, 1999
Enig M, Know Your Facts (Bethesda Press, 2000), The Oiling of America, also website: westonaprice.org/know your fats/canola
Innis SM, et al, Dietary canola oil alters hematological indices and blood lipids in neonatal piglets fed formula, J Nutr 129:1261-68, 1999
Sauer FD. Et al, Additional vitamin E required in milk replacer diets that contain canola oil, Nutr Res 17; 2:259-69, 1997
Kwon JS, et al, Effects of diets high in saturated fatty acids, canola oil, or safflower oil on platelet function, thromboxane B2 formation and fatty acid composition of platelet phospholipids, AM J Clin Nutr, 54:351-58, 1991
MacDonald BE, et al, Comparison of the effects of canola oil and sunflower oil on plasma lipids and lipoproteins and on in vivo thromboxane A2 and prostacyclin production in healthy young men, AM J Clin Nutr 50:382-88, 1989
Rodgers, Sherry. Total Wellness. Prestige Publishing
Duque-Guimaraes DE, et al, Early and prolonged intake of partially hydrogenated fat alters the expression of genes in rat adipose tissue, Nutr: 782-9, 2009