ARE YOU COOKING WITH CANOLA OIL?

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Have you ever heard of a canola plant? No, because there is no such thing as a canola plant in nature. Canadian scientists Dr. Baldur R. Stefansson and Dr. Keith Downey created the canola seed in the 1970’s by modifying rapeseeds.

BRIEF HISTORY 

Canola was first known as LEAR (Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed).  The term Canola was created in 1978 and it means: CANadian Oil, Low Acid.

In the 1970’s rapeseeds were cheap to produce, and at the time, were used for industrial purposes because of its ability to adhere to wet metal and because it wasn’t suitable for human consumption.

The erucic acid in rapeseeds causes muscular heart lesions and is toxic for consumption. Even for insects who instinctively avoid it. Rapeseeds were banned in 1956 in the US, after soldiers and civilians experienced blisters in the skin and lungs.

Olive oil was the first option for people who cared for their health, but was too expensive to produce. It took the food industry about a decade to “modify” rapeseed oil into a consumable and acceptable oil for the US market.

WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID IT

Canola oil has been marketed to be a great heart-healthy oil due to it being low in saturated fat. What they don’t say is that Canola oil is genetically modified to be this way. About 90% of Canola in the US is genetically modified, so this brings its own set of problems that over weighs its “low saturated fat” properties. Read more about GMO’s here.

While the original Canola was created through normal breeding techniques, in 1995 Monsanto created the Canola we know today.  This was done through genetical engineering to contain bacterial DNA to make it resistant to the toxic herbicide, Roundup. They also tend to be highly unstable under heat, light, and pressure, which heavily oxidizes the polyunsaturates, increasing free radicals in your body.

Olive oil, as Canola oil is high in monosaturates, but the reason olive oil is much healthier is because it is usually cold pressed without the use of heat and solvents to aid extraction. Canola oil, on the other hand, is extracted and refined using high heat, pressure, and toxic petroleum solvents such as hexane, which is known to cause nerve damage in humans. These steps harm the nutritional value and changes the oil structure, turning it into hydrogenated oil (saturated fat and trans-fat).

According to the Weston A. Price foundation and Fat Experts Sally Fallon and Mary Enig state:

Like all modern vegetable oils, canola oil goes through the process of refining, bleaching and degumming — all of which involve high temperatures or chemicals of questionable safety. Because canola oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which easily become rancid and foul-smelling when subjected to oxygen and high temperatures, it must be deodorized. The standard deodorization process removes a large portion of the omega-3 fatty acids by turning them into trans fatty acids. Although the Canadian government lists the trans content of canola at a minimal 0.2 percent, research at the University of Florida at Gainesville, found trans levels as high as 4.6 percent in commercial liquid oil. The consumer has no clue about the presence of trans fatty acids in canola oil because they are not listed on the label.”

HEALTHIER OPTIONS

Remember that when trying to find a good substitute, choose an unrefined cold pressed oil:

  • Coconut oil – It’s high in natural saturated fat. It increases the healthy cholesterol (HDL) and lowers the bad cholesterol (LDL) converting them into good cholesterol. It strengthens the immune system and the digestive system, and it is antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral. It’s great for cooking in mid-temperature. Its smoke point is 350 º F (177º C).
  • Olive Oil (Extra Virgen) –  It’s made up of mostly monounsaturated fatty acids including Oleic Acid also known as Omega 9, which is linked to lower rates of inflammation, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. It’s also good for mid-temperature cooking. It has a smoke point of 405 º F (207º C).
  • Avocado oil – The composition of avocado oil is similar to olive oil. It’s high in antioxidants like Vitamin E and it’s made up of mostly (68%) of Oleic Acid which is considered a heart-healthy fatty acid.  It’s one of the best oils for cooking. It has an extremely high smoke point 520°F (270°C) so it’s great for even frying.

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