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Rapeseed Oil and Canola Oil Health Issues

Canola oil is really rapeseed oil that has been both selectively bred and genetically modified. Canola's name comes from Canada - the location where it was first developed. Is rapeseed oil healthy for you?

To begin, rapeseed / canola is a plant related to the turnip. The oil comes from crushing the seeds.

Canola oil has an active PR department. Few people know it is genetically modified. This genetic modification was done to handle ill effects of Roundup - a herbicide. Unfortunately, farmers now spray canola with even more pesticides anyway because it is such an important cash crop.

Geneticists specifically bred canola from rapeseed to change rapeseed's profile, because rapeseed oil is about 50% erucic acid. Erucic acid can stunt growth in humans. When geneticists bred the canola oil variant, they reduced its erucic acid component, to remove that risk. The official definition of Canola Oil at the Canola Council Website is "an oil that must contain less than 2% erucic acid".

The small group of farmers who tries vainly to grow non-GM canola oil gets told to pay the dues anyway, because of contamination by neighboring farms.

Canola Oil is praised for its health benefits. But really, it only has 10% Omega-3. In comparison, Flax Seed Oil has 58% Omega-3 plus Omega-6 as well. Omega-3 oils MUST be served cold in order to preserve their health benefits. But most people use Canola Oil to cook with, immediately destroying its health benefits.

You could say, "at least it's not UNhealthy when you heat it". Canola Oil has a smoke point of 475F which is why people love to use it for deep frying. And granted, compared to other partially hydrogenated oils like soybean oil that turn into toxic Trans Fatty Acids when they are heated, Canola Oil is better on the "scale of dangers"! But it DOES create some Trans Fatty Acids, just like rapeseed oil does. It produces slightly FEWER Trans Fatty Acids than rapeseed oil does, but not by much.

In a study by the Cooperative Extension of the University of California, which compared canola and rapeseed oil vs soybean oil and peanut oil, the peanut oil did the best at high temperatures at remaining healthy.

So if you use Canola Oil cold - you get 10% Omega-3 oils. Not as good as the Flaxseed Oil benefits, but maybe you can't find flaxseed oil at your local store. If you want to start cooking with oil, it's better to turn to peanut oil instead.

Note that even if YOU do not heat your Canola Oil, the manufacturer might have. Be sure to buy Canola Oils that are listed as being "cold pressed". Otherwise, if the manufacturer heated up the oil over 110F in their processing, they have already damaged any omega oils that were in the original oil.

Canola Oil has a shelf life of 1 year. According to the Canola website, "Keep your canola oil in the fridge or in a cool, dark place when you are not using it. Light and heat speed up the degeneration process in oils."

Cooking Fat and Oil Chart
Cooking Oil Type and Use Chart
Good Fats, Bad Fats and Ugly Fats
Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated Good Fats
Good Fats are REALLY Good
Omega-3 Fats, Fish Oil, DHA and EPA
Olives and Olive Oil
Avoid Soybean Oil
McDonalds and Partially Hydrogenated Oils
Trans Fats, Deep Frying and Atkins

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This content was written by Lisa Shea. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lisa Shea for details.


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