Monday, August 15, 2011

The Truth About Canola Oil?

Have you ever wondered where Canola oil comes from? Unlike Olive oil (olives), Peanut oil (peanuts), Coconut oil (coconuts), I'm not familiar with a Canola plant, fruit, seed or nut. That's because there is no Canola plant to produce this oil from. Canola oil is made from genetically modified rapeseed. This oil was first introduced by our neighbors to the north, Canada, and the word Canola was made up in 1978 from "CANadian Oil, Low Acid". The fact is, Canola oil is an artificially created, genetically modified food whose seed is so far deviated from natural rapeseed that it has actually been patented. How's that for a science experiment?

Mainstream media, the U.S. and Canadian governments, the FDA, the USDA, the American Heart Association and more would have us believe that Canola oil is not only "heart healthy", but good for you. And don't forget Big Ag's influence with their heavy-handed marketing tactics. Canola oil is cheap to produce and they have spent a lot of money trying to convince you, me and the rest of the world to purchase it as your "healthy" oil choice. Since when has Big Ag been concerned abour our health?

The History...
In the mid-1980's, the oil industry in American was in a bind. Numerous government and medical agencies were promoting polyunsaturated oils as "heart healthy" alternatives to "artery-clogging" saturated fats. Polyunsaturated oils, Corn and Soybean, were under attack for causing numerous health problems including cancer. The oil industry couldn't continue advocating large amounts of ployunsaturated oils AND continue to promote them as healthy with the mounting evidence to the contrary. And they certainly couldn't return to using the traditional healthy saturated fats - butter, coconut oil, palm oil, tallow, lard - without admiting they were wrong and had made a mess of things.

According to “The Great Con-ola,” the solution was to embrace the use of monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil. Monounsaturated oils had been shown to have a “better” effect than polyunsaturated oils on cholesterol levels and other blood parameters. In addition, many heart-healthy advocates had popularized the notion that a Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, protected against heart disease and ensured a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, olives required special growing conditions that made it impossible for olive oil to be used widely and olive oil was costly, especially for mass-produced commercial products.

Traditional rapeseed oil was a monounsaturated oil that had been used extensively in many parts of the world. It contains almost 60 percent monounsaturated fatty acids compared to approximately 70 percent in olive oil. Unfortunately, rapeseed oil also comprised of erucic acid, a 22-carbon monounsaturated fatty acid that had been associated with Keshan’s disease, characterized by fibrotic lesions of the heart.

In the late 1970s, using a technique called seed splitting, Canadian plant breeders came up with a variety of rapeseed that produced a monounsaturated oil (low in 22-carbon erucic acid and high in 18-carbon oleic acid) very like olive oil. Originally, it was called LEAR (Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed). However, neither the name Rape nor LEAR were considered suitable for marketing purposes. The new name, Canola, was considered a hit.

In the 1980s, Canola oil began to be marketed in the United States. In order for that to happen, it had to be granted GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status by the FDA. GRAS status is typically awarded to foods and herbal products that have been traditionally used, for hundreds or even thousands of years, without known adverse effects. Canola oil was a new product without any track record. And it was developed from a product known to have toxic effects. So how did Canada obtain GRAS status for it's new product? No one knows for sure, but it has been rumored that the Canadian government spent $50 million U.S. to get it approved.

False Health Claims...
While it is true that Canola oil is high in monounsaturates, it is anything but “healthy.” We’ve been led to believe that high monounsaturated fat oils are good for us and they are in the case of virgin olive oil or other unprocessed nut or seed oils. However, one of the biggest problems with highly processed and refined vegetable oils such as corn, soybean and Canola is that the polyunsaturated component of the oil is highly unstable under heat, light and pressure. All of which heavily oxidize the polyunsaturates increasing free radicals in your body. The end result of all of this refining and processing are oils that are highly inflammatory in your body when you ingest them, potentially contributing to heart disease, weight gain and other degenerative diseases.

Extra virgin olive oil  (EVOO), cold pressed without the use of heat and chemicals, is good for you. Canola oil, typically extracted and refined using high heat, pressure and toxic petroleum solvents such as hexane, contains trans fats. It is all of the high heat and high pressure solvent processing that actually turns the healthy omega-3 content into trans fat. It also undergoes a process of caustic refining, degumming, bleaching and deodorization. According to Dr. Mary Enig, Nutritional Biochemist, “Although the Canadian government lists the trans fat content of Canola at a minimal 0.2 percent, research at the University of Florida in Gainesville, found trans fat levels as high as 4.6 percent in commercial liquid Canola oil.” And this is the garbage that they are marketing to you as a “heart-healthy” oil!

One More Thing...
If you do a Google search for organic pesticides, the number one hit is for recipes that use Canola oil. In fact, Mike Adams, The Healthy Ranger, has a video on Natural that reveals that common cooking oils such as Canola and Soy are key ingredients in pesticide products because they work! The video shows how one pesticide product that kills insects is made with 96% canola oil and is so dangerous that the label reads, "Hazards to humans and domestic animals." Watch the video here -

And Last, but Not Least...
In 1996, Japanese scientists announced a study in which a special Canola oil diet had actually killed laboratory animals. Reacting to this unpublished, but verified and startling information, a duplicate study was conducted by Canadian scientists, using piglets and a Canola oil-based milk-replacer diet. In this second study, published in Nutrition Research 1997, the researchers verified that Canola oil depleted the piglets of vitamin E to a dangerously low level.

Any “food” that depletes vitamin E rapidly is extremely dangerous. Vitamin E is absolutely essential to human health. It is critically necessary in the body when processed fats are eaten because Vitamin E controls the lipid peroxidation that results in dangerous free-radical activity, which in turn causes lesions in your arteries and other problems. Canola oil has now been shown to be a very heavy abuser of Vitamin E, with the potential for rapidly depleting the body of this important vitamin.

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