Never COOK with or Eat This Oil!

Canola oil is marketed aggressively as a healthy oil because of its relatively high omega 3 content. Even though increasing our omega-3 fatty acid intake is a worthy goal, there are several reasons why canola oil is not the best choice.

Here are 4 reasons to kick your canola oil to the curb….

1.  Canola is not a whole food.

Where would you find a canola plant? Anyone? Not an easy question to answer, because a canola plant doesn’t exist. Canola oil is actually a hybridized form of rapeseed. Often it is genetically modified. It is called canola oil because it is from Canada and because the name “rapeseed” isn’t exactly a marketer’s dream. Since it is often genetically modified and not a whole food, our paleolithic ancestors would never have touched it with a ten foot pole, nor should you.

2. Canola oil is a highly processed food.  

The process that transforms rapeseed into a “food” involves high heat and pressure. This can damage the fatty acids it contains. It also involves the use of a solvent, called hexane, which is a chemical made from crude oil. Canola oil is then bleached and deodorized because the product is so unpalatable in its natural state.

Anything requiring that much processing (and deodorizing?), is definitely NOT improving your health.

3. Canola Oil may contain trans fats.

Canola oil is commonly glorified due to its high omega-3 content. However, polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 fats) are incredibly fragile fats. When these fats are heated above a certain temperature (as is done when canola oil is processed) they become rancid and may be transformed into TRANS FATS.

It is farily common knowledge now that trans fats should be strictly avoided due to their link with heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. However, many are surprised to learn that canola oil (a food that is touted as healthy) actually contains them. Shocking, right?

What’s worse is that canola oil companies like to claim that their oil contains less than 0.2% trans fats, yet researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville have found trans fat levels in canola oil as high as 4.6%! Consuming trans fats is always a poor idea, especially when the actual amount contained is questionable.

4. Long-Term effects of Canola Oil are unknown.

Long term studies on the safety of canola oil for human consumption have not been conducted. That means you choose to become a participant in one, every time you consume it.

In animal studies canola oil was found to be associated with fibrotic lesions of the heart, growth retardation (which is why the FDA will not allow it to be used in infant formula), shortened lifespan, unfavorable changes in blood platelets and vitamin E deficiency. These red flags should be cause for concern to humans as well.

How To Avoid Canola Oil....

As you can see, the pervasive use of canola oil today has far more to do with profit than health promotion. Aside from my research, my personal experience also indicates that canola oil is something to question. In fact, every time I accidentally consume it, my stomach reacts with bloating or almost instantaneous discomfort. Being diligent about excluding it from my diet has made a huge difference. I hope it does for you, too!

Unfortunately, avoiding canola oil isn’t always easy. Today, it is used in many “healthy” products including salad dressings, margarine, mayonnaise, hummus, cereals, potato chips, and even in the salad bar at Whole Foods. Use the tips below to avoid even the sneakiest canola oil exposure.

1. Always check the label!  

Some food manufacturers are responding to the fact that consumers are becoming nutritionally savvy and avoiding canola-containing products by labeling their products with “contains olive oil." A quick little look at the ingredients will reveal that it may contain tiny amounts of olive oil, but canola oil is used in much larger amounts.  Sneaky, sneaky.  

2. Canola oil is sometimes labeled as “vegetable oil.”

There are even some olive oils that have canola oil as an additive. Be vigilant when reading labels and purchasing both high-quality, pure, and minimally processed olive oils.
3. Canola oil is commonly used in restaurants.

Always inquire about which oils a restaurant uses. Request that they cook your food with coconut oil, grass-fed butter or ghee which are far more stable. You might even mention to them that you are allergic to canola oil. This will ensure they take you seriously 😊

4. Best bet....use unrefined organic coconut oil for cooking.

Coconut oil is incredibly heat stable, minimally processed, and chock full of nutritional benefits! It is the perfect replacement for all your canola oil needs.

Here’s to a GMO-free, inflammation-fighting, thriving, canola-free life...

Happy Paleo-ing,

Autumn Smtih