• Vegetable Oils: The Good, Bad And Indifferences, Especially Canola

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    Canola oil enjoys widespread acceptance as a source of healthy unsaturated fats, while any potential health benefits from coconut oil remain the subject of debate. One thing is certain: the two oils have more differences than similarities. Canola oil contains more beneficial nutrients, but coconut oil may be a better source of energy. Coconut oil is self-explanatory: it’s oil obtained from a coconut. Canola oil comes from the rapeseed plant, but wild rapeseed contains erucic acid, which is toxic. Plant breeders in Canada developed a type of rapeseed with low erucic acid that’s safe for human consumption and named the new plant canola. One tablespoon of coconut oil has 117 calories compared to 124 in canola oil. Neither one provides protein or fiber.

    Ever since I matriculated in natural nutrition, not the pap that was being disseminated about food by MDs and RDs in the 1970s and '80s, e.g., margarine, a trans fat prevented and ‘treated’ heart disease, I acquired tremendous respect for dietary vegetable oils, often referred to as containing fatty acids. The learning curve was so dramatic from what was ‘common knowledge’ that I eventually wound up telling people that processed vegetable oils ought to be considered ‘liquid cancer in a bottle’. Dramatic, I’m certain, but after one studies the effects of fatty acids, especially those in rancid and chemically extruded vegetable oils, stark reality sets in, and it did for me.

    Remember, MDs plus RDs, who now are being called nutritionists, were pushing margarine, which were trans fats, in the diet since they became mainstreamed in the USA during the World War II years. I remember the first time tasting margarine …

    However, the more important fact and negative-determining factors are the 20% Omega-6 content, which is not in the proper ratio for good health especially in reducing heart disease and cancer risks, and its inflammation-inducing proclivities. The Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio for proper health benefits should be 2 to 4 times fewer omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids [1a], which flaxseed and fish oils meet. Make certain the flaxseed is non-GMO, and never use flaxseed oil for cooking or frying, as heat destroys the Omega-3s!

    Chris Kresser in his article, “How too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 is making us sick,” puts forth some dramatic information, including how dietary fats affect the inflammation process in the body. That aside, I do not support anyone’s contentions that canola oil is a ‘healthy’ fatty acid or food oil for various reasons. My two main reasons are: 1) it’s GMO, and 2) n-6 to n-3 ratios are not in the proper ratio. According to all I have been able to research regarding the transformation of the high-erucic-acid-content (50-54%) rapeseed oil, which for many years was not permitted to be sold in the USA, it was genetically modified into canola, and labeled another supposedly healthful food commodity.

    According to Wikipedia,

    Canola oil [GMO rapeseed] is limited by government regulation to a maximum of 2% erucic acid by weight in the USA and 5% in the EU, with special regulations for infant food. These low levels of erucic acid are not believed to cause harm in human neonates.However, low levels of erucic acid in canola can and do cause gastrointestinal distress in many eaters – anything from bloating to pain to diarrhea, etc. – and when eliminated from the diet, symptoms dramatically disappear to the point of discontinuing medication for gastrointestinal problems. At least that’s what I saw happen with my clients. has an excellent article, “Omega 6 oil” from which I wish to emphasize this:

    On the negative side it needs to be mentioned that all canola oil is genetically modified (GMO). …. Sometimes it's even in organic health foods, even though organic products are not allowed to contain GMO products.The second negative to canola oil is that some, albeit few, people are hyper sensitive to the oil. Their reaction is almost like an allergy, and can be very serious.

    As a natural nutritionist and consumer health researcher, I respectfully disagree with much of the mainstream hype about canola oil. To illustrate why I say that, please consider this taken from Wikipedia,

    Food-grade canola oil derived from rapeseed cultivars, also known as rapeseed 00 oil, low erucic acid rapeseed oil, LEAR oil, and rapeseed canola-equivalent oil, has been generally recognized as safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration.Because the FDA has given it a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) designation, indicates that there may be some doubts and that’s what I call “wiggle room, get off the hook words” similar to what FDA gives to other ‘things’ such as food colors, preservatives, additives, etc. – GRAS!

    According to FDA’s “History of the GRAS List and SCOGS Reviews”

    In enacting the 1958 Food Additives Amendment, Congress recognized that many substances intentionally used in a manner whereby they are added to food would not require a formal premarket review by FDA to assure their safety, either because their safety had been established by a long history of use in food or by virtue of the nature of the substances, their customary or projected conditions of use, and the information generally available to scientists about the substances.Perhaps, there ought to be some questioning as to the information, ‘science’, and lobbying efforts that went into getting canola oil approved and, ultimately, being allowed to be represented as a healthful dietary vegetable oil and fatty acid. One of the more problematic issues regarding canola oil is found in its use in deep fat fryers in fast food restaurant chains. Nothing causes more damage to the human body than eating high heated and re-heated vegetable oils of any type! Free radicals are created along with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – all known carcinogens!

    According to the Abstract in the article “Free radicals in foods,”

    Convenience and snack foods which absorb substantial amounts of frying oils are being increasingly consumed. Since poly-unsaturated fatty acids are particularly susceptible to oxidation by free radicals during the storage, cooking and frying of foods, the potential risk of exposure to lipid degradation products is likely to have increased. [Thereby creating more free radicals – CFJ emphasis added]Adding to that issue the probable herbicide glyphosate content in GMO canola oil, we need to consider

    Glyphosate is associated with most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet89. Here, we show how interference with Cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes acts synergistically with disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids by gut bacteria, as well as impairment in serum sulfate transport. Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. We explain the documented effects of glyphosate and its ability to induce disease, and we show that glyphosate is the’ textbook’ example of exogenous semiotic entropy: the disruption of homeostasis by environmental toxins.Furthermore, the following graphic taken from GMO Awareness needs to be studied by everyone: All government health agencies, the natural and healthfood industries, agricultural affiliates, food processors, and the buying public:

    CJF: Charts illustrating the genetic damage from glyphosate, i.e., its genotoxic activity.

    Back in November of 2013, the Canadian Medical Association Journal [130253] published the article “Omega-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acids: Is a broad cholesterol-lowering health claim appropriate?” wherein the authors offered a caveat that more research is needed regarding the claim that vegetable oils rich in n-6 and low in n-3 reduced the risks for heart disease! Interesting?

    From my experience as a retired natural nutritionist and a continuing consumer health researcher, I’d suggest everyone reconsider the facts about fats and fatty acids in their diet, especially the information one reads in mainstream advertisements. That hype probably is not correct, just like the margarine gaff that the medical profession promulgated for too many years, and which actually led to more heart disease, the number one cause of disease deaths in the USA.

    Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year. However, misinformation can be good for some businesses, especially medicine and Big Pharma.

    Consumers need to be aware of grocery stores, chains, and food merchandizers who claim they don’t have any GMOs in the products they sell, or the canola is ‘organic’. Well, that’s pure poppycock since anything with canola, corn, soy, or derivatives from them, which are ubiquitous in processed foods, do contain GMOs. Buyers beware!

    Recognized by the American Dietetics Association and American Heart Association for its good-to-bad fat ratio and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, canola oil is derived from a specially cultivated version of rapeseed. Its name is a shortened version of the phrase “Canadian oil, low acid”; the first canola plants were bred in Canada and lead to lower levels of erucic acid (which, at the time, was believed to have an adverse affect on the heart).

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