This is a guest post written by Alison of Health Nut Nation — an awesome blog full of recipes and nutrition & health articles. Thanks, Alison, for the post!
Recently, my husband wanted me to replicate an Italian salad dressing that he’d bought at a restaurant. In order to honor the integrity of his opinionated taste buds, I discerned that I needed a really clean tasting oil, so I brought out some canola oil that was properly stored in a dark cool place. The canola oil looked light and pure, but it smelled “off” to me. I tasted it, and it had a strong lip recoiling flavor. I suspected it was rancid. So, like any good researcher would do, I enlisted my husband and son as my personal kitchen lab rats. Both tasted it and thought it was fine.
Certain that justice had yet to be served, I decided to buy a brand new bottle of canola oil as a barometer to determine if I was losing my gift for discerning tasteful things. Sure enough, the new bottle tasted and smelled clean. It had no odor and no particular taste. When I had both my son and husband taste and smell the new canola oil and compare it to the rancid oil, they both declared the rancid oil “disgusting!”
The surprising truth is, they were both rancid!
Developed through the hybridization of rape seed, canola oil is actually a delicate oil that turns rancid very quickly. (It’s named canola as in “oil from Canada.” Marketing figured it was much more appealing that the word “rape” — go figure!) And we all know that not many people are going to put up with knowingly ingesting rank, stale, decomposing oil.
That’s why the vegetable oil industry has a little-known trick that they don’t make public. Deodorizers are typically used in the making of canola oil.
Like all modern vegetable oils, canola oil goes through the process of caustic refining, bleaching and degumming — all of which involve high temperatures or chemicals of questionable safety. And 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.
I can only surmise that the reason I could smell and taste that the canola oil I had was rancid, was likely because I’d bought it from a source where deodorizers had not been used. Either that, or it was so far beyond rancid that even the deodorizers had given up the fight!
Rancidity is not the only issue we are dealing with. The way in which the canola is processed is where the oil is turned from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Read it again: “…canola oil goes through the process of caustic refining, bleaching and degumming–all of which involve high temperatures or chemicals of questionable safety.” It’s like taking a lovely rib eye steak, marinating it in lighter fluid, torching it to a crisp, sprinkling it with rose petals, and serving it up on a platter!
How rancid oil affects your body.
Rancid doesn’t just mean that a food is stale, or rotten. In this case rancid means oxidized.
In your body oxidized means damage to your cells and tissues, especially to the areas rich in fat like your brain. You know what happens when an apple is exposed to air? Oxidation is the process that turns it brown and makes it go bad. If you eat vegetable oils that are already oxidized from heat and light in processing, you are exposing your own healthy tissues to a volatile substance which will damage them…. Oxidation, or rancidity, is not only a major contributor to most degenerative diseases, it also causes inflammation. Excess inflammation in the body can cause anything from arthritis to more serious diseases such as Parkinson’s, bipolar moods, schizophrenia, and obsessive compulsive disorders.
What can you use instead?
I’ve been evangelizing the health benefits of fats in your diet, saturated fats in particular, for quite some time now. So the question remains, which fats are a healthy choice?
My rule of thumb is to only use oils where I will be able to tell if it’s gone bad either via taste/odor/visible mold. For almost any application you can find an oil from a healthy source that tastes great and is a healthy choice.
There are many choices available, however my go-to oils are:
I primarily cook with coconut oil. Eggs, cookies, pie crusts, sautéing veggies, etc.
(how to choose a good coconut oil)
Butter from pastured cows is nutritious, stable, and makes anything taste better.
(where to buy pastured butter or ghee)
A very stable oil, traditionally used for frying. I use lard for pie crusts, pastries, pan frying, stir frying and in combination with coconut oil to cook my breakfast eggs in. Learn how to render your own lard from humanely-raised, pastured and/or foraged hogs here.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A delicate oil that should, ideally, not be heated. I use olive oil in all of my salad dressings. Make sure you know where your olive oil is coming from, as most olive oil is diluted with cheaper oils or entirely fake!
(where to find quality olive oil)
Canola oil is not a health food.
Despite the lusty red lipstick, she’s still a pig. Canola oil is not a healthy fat. It has been processed, heated to a point which has destroyed most of its beneficial properties, and then deodorized in order to make it taste and smell fresh and clean.
Coconut oil, butter, lard, olive oil, and many more oils are a safe and healthy alternative.
To your health!
What about cold pressed organic canola oil? Hasn’t this product not gone through all of the refining?
Roger Lacy says
cold pressed canola oil = Healthy ?
and scroll to the bottom to read about canola oil in this article-http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/hwnl_9-2.htm
Cold Pressed you say? LOLOL oh man, sorry I cannot help but laugh. But in all seriousness, rapeseed oil is still the same sh** oil regardless if it is “cold pressed.”
Check it out:
“Food manufacturing is a big, profitable business and employs many highly skilled lobbyists. The new U.S. labeling laws do not list “Trans-Fatty acid because the large food manufacturers spent billions of dollars to pay for lobbyists to keep “Trans-fatty acid” off the labels. “Cold Pressed” labeling means nothing in the U.S. All commercial oils and nut butters sold in U.S. Supermarkets contain Trans-fatty acid this is because the U.S. government allows heat treated and high pressure squeezed vegetable oil to be used and even labeled “Cold Processed”. The Italian government passed a law that olive oil must be protected from heat and high pressure. The U.S. government could save many lives if it passed a similar law to include all vegetable oil (and banned cotton seed oil – it is poison). – See more at: http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/ConsumerAlert/Canola.aspx#sthash.PDzJbMfB.dpuf
Don’t listen to this dumb lady ….Cold pressed rapeseed oil from England is not G.m. modified unlike the rest of the world and it’s very healthy indeed …American rapeseed oil is full of crap and no wonder if you don’t stand up to the big corporations they will kill you all slowly …..You people should have stood up to your government who are in their pockets …..Greed and power is all that the corporations want.
We occassionly use the Spectrum Organic Canola Oil for baking. Does the organic version eliminate the problems you describe here?
steve simonds says
The Spectrum is cold pressed so does not use high heat or chemicals (hexane I believe) to separate the oil.
Mike P says
The canola plant is actually a rapeseed plant that has been crossbred by people with other plants to reduce the toxicity of the rapeseed oil (natural rapeseed oil is toxic) and most have also been genetically modified to make them resistant to insects.
Is the oil from a plant that has been crossbred with other species and then genetically modified being sold with an ‘organic’ label?
A hybrid organism is not a genetically-modified organism. If it were, you and I would be considered GMOs. Our genes were genetically combined based on cross-breeding over millions of years. If cross-breeding is the same as GMOs, then we are GMOs.
Genetically-modified organisms involve gene splicing. For example, mixing the genes of a salmon with the genes of a tomato, to get a tomato that doesn’t rot in the cold. This has been done, btw, and that is why I wouldn’t eat a conventional American tomato if you paid me. (Italian Roma tomatoes, like those from Cento, are another story.)
Cold-pressed, organic, “tamed” rapeseed oils, like those from Spectrum, La Tourangelle, and Whole Foods are not genetically modified. you may be slandering t hem to say otherwise, at least as science defines crossbred organisms (hybrids) and genetically-modified organisms (genetically altered). Your personal definition doesn’t matter.
Spectrum put out this release in 2002 after the FDA questioned their use of “non-GMO” on the label:
>”Spectrum employs genetic identification testing by independent laboratories to ensure our canola oil does not come from genetically engineered sources. Our decision to include a non-GMO or non-GE seal on our Canola Oil was made after significant deliberation. Consumers who shop in natural food stores are our core constituents. They maintain a heightened interest in source, agricultural practices and processing of foods they buy. Spectrum believes we must give them the information they need to make informed purchase decisions. We have endeavored to make clear to shoppers in a quick-read format that the oils we sell are not from genetically engineered sources and that this has been verified. Faced with this request from the FDA, we now struggle to find a way to maintain our commitment to consumers while acceding to the FDA demands.”
Cold-pressed, organic canola uses no hexane. It has no trans fats. It also appears to have an excellent balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 for cooking oils, right in the recommended zone (roughly 2:1). Lard is 10:1. A better oil is flax, although I'm not sure how it would taste for cooking. It's actually .23:1. Not sure we can do any better. Coconut has 0 of either 6 or 3.
If you have or can refer us to hard data, collected independently of the canola industry or the anti-canola forces, especially a longitudinal study with a good sample size (at least 100, although I'd prefer over 1500), let's see it. If you have data to prove beyond ambiguity that the canola oils put out by these three companies are in any way genetically-modified as science defines it, that hexane was used to derive it, or that it contains trans fats, let's see that as well.
It's time to abandon beliefs for science.
Thanks for the lucid response to this bogus fear-inspiring article. I am so tired of this kind of crap article that spreads half-truthes & non-truthes as THE truth.
Jaime Alvarenga says
I agree . I see articles like this all the time that show nothing but bias evidence and scare-tactics. I did a response for the Hand sanitizer article and I notice the same strategy used in this article. Just realize one can never rely on information like this from a non-scientific website with no real credentials.
You can eat what you want. If you want to eat weird, new foods, then eat them.
If you want to eat food we’ve eaten for thousands and thousands of years or more, then eat them.
Just eat what you like. You are not going to escape your mortality. You will outlive some people you consider wrong, and some people you consider wrong will outlive you by quite a margin.
Humanity imagines it’s bureaucracies are superior to the fierce beauty of Nature that the human mind can barely comprehend, if at all. Fools.
Rachel Thompson says
I would be interested to learn your opinion of Rice Bran Oil ? I have read that it can be used at higher temperatures, it is very popular in NZ where I was able to buy it at the supermarket, in Ontario it is rear as hens teeth.
Thanks for another great article,
I looked on the Spectrum website and the Organic canola oil says “100% mechanically (expeller) pressed naturally refined organic canola oil.”
Why does it need to be refined if it’s expeller pressed? According to the Spectrum website they don’t use chemicals to refine their product, so they must be subjecting it to very high heat.
Here’s an excerpt about refining canola oil:
And yet, a trip to your local health food store, or even Whole Foods, may find Organic Canola Oils sitting on the store shelves, but interestingly enough these “Organic” Canola Oils upon closer inspection may also say that they are REFINED. Companies selling Canola claims the seeds are expeller pressed, but then they throw in that sometime after that the oil is also REFINED NATURALLY. Perusing their website will not disclose what they are refining their oil with however. Is it HEAT? Some sources say that a refined canola oil is exposed to hydrogenation type heat, as well as precipitation and deodorizing w/minerals and potentially more? Less information is rarely assuring, especially with products claiming to be organic. At a minimum, if heat is indeed used, the concept that any cold-pressed organic oil is subsequently refined may sound contradictory. Isn’t the purpose of expeller processing to avoid high heat and chemical treatments? Isn’t the assumption the consumer is acting on when they are buying oils that say expeller pressed is that heat and treatments have been cut out of the equation? So the question remains if you are applying high heat during refining of a Monounsaturated oil, like Canola, won’t you be oxidizing it more from the get-go, and thus creating more free radicals in it, so its quite like your OIL has been PRECOOKED before you even get to use it?
Canola oil does go through a high heat deodoizing treatment but is don under absoute vacuum so no chane of oxidization can possible occur. This is the same as many different kinds of oils and is compleatly harmless
Another reason to avoid canola oil is that most canola oil in the US is genetically modified. So unless you are buying organic canola oil, it is not advisable to consume it.
Ok, its not healthy to eat fried foods but what is a great oil to use for frying. As a southern gal I love fried chicken from time to time…is peanut oil my only option for frying that will not change the flavor? And then is peanut oil just as awful as canola?
Coconut oil is fantastic for frying! It doesn’t break down, tastes great! I get to love my french fries again!
Mike P says
I don’t agree that it is not healthy to eat fried foods — for most people anything is good in moderation. But having said that, there are many good oils that can handle higher temperatures.
The best choice often depends on what you are cooking. Peanut oil works well for fish, especially if you don’t want to hide the flavor. But peanut oil can be pretty expensive. Other good choices include avocado oil and coconut oil. I’m undecided about whether to recommend corn oil.
For cooking chicken I usually prefer to use a little sesame oil. It does change the flavor, but it changes it in a very nice way.
Agree with Mike P, but be very careful if you’re using coconut oil at higher temps. I learned the hard way that while coconut oil has a fairly high smoke point, it has one problem. The temp difference between coconut oil’s smoke point and it’s FLASH point is much smaller than most oils. What does this mean? If can go from smoking to erupting in flame VERY QUICKLY – if your coconut oil starts smoking in the pan, don’t do what I did – I turned around to gather the chopped onion I’d nearly prepared to put in the pan which took me about 20 seconds, but that was all it took for my pan to catch fire. Short story – if you coconut oil smokes, take it OFF the heat immediately until it stops smoking. Other than that I use coconut oil for all kinds of things – its a staple in our kitchen now. For higher heat, I’ve begun using avocado oil more regularly which is a bit more tolerant.
ok, I see you use lard for frying but is there another alternative when you have no lard. I have never used it so I am completely ignorant on the subject… suppose it is time to learn something new.
Don’t be afraid to pan fry chicken in its own fat!
OK, but how do you get your chicken fat or where? when I buy chicken I just get the breasts nothing else comes with it… I have not heard of that before.
Chicken thighs are full of fat. Buy a couple and cook with the breasts. If you buy chicken breasts which include skin, they will also contain fat.
Make your own chicken stock from the bones of a whole chicken (preferably pasture-raised on a local farm). The fat will rise to the top of the stock as it cools and you can scrape it off to use for frying/cooking. The blog “100 Days of Real Food” has a great post on how to cook the chicken and stock.
I’d also like to know what you recommend for high heat like for popcorn…. which is my occasional vice.
I pop in coconut oil with a little African Red Palm Oil mixed in. The African varieties of palm oil don’t destroy orangutan habitat, and you’ve got the added bonus of them being super-high in antioxidants like vitamin A. That little extra bit of antioxidant protection helps the coconut oil handle higher temperatures (like those used for popping pop corn) before the oil oxidizes/reaches its smoke point.
It’s funny that you say don’t use olive oil for cooking, and so many cooking shows do just that.
I have always wondered about that because I always thought it was not to be heated, too.
Even tho the TV chefs use EVOO for cooking, they also say that the flavorful oil (expensive one) should be kept for garnishing and not for cooking. Use regular olive oil for cooking. They seem to say both – I use EVOO for cooking and never garnish – why add extra calories to your food?
When I need a high-heat neutral oil, I turn to Almond or Avocado Oil. Both seem pretty straightforward to extract. The main drawback is their cost. Still, I’d rather pay a bit more and skip the crazy industrial stuff.
While I wouldn’t use it, I wonder if peanut oil might be a lesser evil.
Here’s how it is made. Do watch till the end, to be repulsed by what all is done to get it to your salad.
Interesting how they just said then they use a steam injection process to “remove the canola odor” and then quickly end the video!
LOVED the video! I actually shared it on Food Renegade’s facebook page, here.
Thanks for the info. I try to explain that Canola oil is not good to friends and family all the time and they never seem to believe me. Most of their doctors are still telling to cook with Canola and the doctor trumps me every time.
richard bruzzi says
Hi Lovelyn just wanted to reiterate youropinion about vegetable oil. Good science explains and backs up what the author of this article is stating. The fact that this was a random occurrence is beneficial to us the readers because we know that there is no bias from the author. Good science says that randomization avoids bias and since the author of this article was not looking to write about canola oil but rather happened to have an experience with canola oil because of her husband it proves that she had no bias in the matter of the effects of the canola oil.
also good science says that since scientists are human they would be bias in writing such an article because they might have a hidden agenda. Pro or con but since the author of this article is an independent source then the readers like you and myself are more likely to believe and rely on the claims made by the author. All in all I am right on with you. The science in this article do not seem to be tainted by those that have important stakes in the matter but rather a food lover. This makes for an interesting and honest article.
Wow, I cannot believe anyone would doubt the terrible side effects of Canola Oil in the body- it is in all of our foods & is wreaking havoc on people’s nervous systems daily- Why so many more cases of MS, and highest rate of MS is in the Saskatchewan Provence of Canada where canola was first created & used. After 30 yrs of damaging people it is high time we stand up to this, speak out and demand it be removed permanently. NO such thing as “organic” Canola Oil- it is 99% a GMO and so deodorized. You’re getting ripped off & killing yourself if you continue to use it.
Your post caught my attention – I’m from Saskatchewan! I’m pretty sure the province’s MS rate pre-dates the arrival of canola as a widespread crop (canola really didn’t get widespread until the 90s and 2000s). As for MS rates themselves, I’m concerned but also skeptical – it’s a small population (1 mill people) so statistics can jump higher or lower more easily.
All that being said, my kitchen only contains coconut oil, flax oil (prepared before each use) and butter. If I could find a source of good (organic/non-GMO, truly cold-pressed) canola oil I might use it, too. Haven’t found this yet.
Mike P says
I don’t know about how canola affects other people, but I know how it affects me.
About four weeks ago I eliminated it from my diet when I realized I was getting sick every time I ate anything that had canola in it. It was hard to figure out what was making me sick because canola is in so many processed foods including cakes, peanut butter, waffles and potato chips. I’d started getting really sick after my wife started cooking with it regularly because it is ‘healthier’ than butter and the other things I normally use.
Anyhow, for me it causes persistent muscle knots in my legs, my shoulders, my neck and if I eat more than a little, severe tightness in my chest. It is very painful and usually takes a few weeks for the knots to go away.
After being treated for years for migraine headaches and various muscle-related problems, most of the issues have faded away in the last four weeks since I eliminated canola from my diet.
I don’t know why canola affects me the way it does–I wish I did. It doesn’t sound like an actual ‘allergy’ response; my body acts more like it is responding to a toxin. And I don’t have an agenda to push for or against canola for other people; I just know it is not a good thing for me.
Kris @ Attainable Sustainable says
Surprised that the author didn’t mention the MAIN reason I avoid canola – in the US it’s grown from genetically modified seed, a practice that has been banned in numerous countries because of suspected health risks. That’s enough for me, no matter HOW good it might or might not taste!
Great post! I was fooled into using canola oil for several years, thinking it was better for my heart, cholesterol level, health in general, etc. I am sure the bottle I still have in the back of my pantry, purchased from a big box store years go, is GMO and probably rancid as well. We’ve since switched to reputably-sourced olive oil, coconut oil, or grass-fed butter for our cooking and baking needs.
Do you ever use bacon grease as a cooking oil? Last night I made “brinner” for my family (breakfast for dinner, in this case some locally- and humanely-raised bacon free of nitrates with some sourdough pancakes and locally- and humanely-raised fried chicken eggs) and decided to experiment with using bacon grease on the pancake griddle. OH MY were those pancakes amazing. They didn’t taste like bacon but had a nice crispy texture and a slight hint of smokiness. It prompted me to save the bacon grease in my fridge, something I’ve never done before, in hopes that maybe it’s useful at a later date. Before I jump into it “whole hog” (yuk, yuk!), can you tell me if this is a good idea or a bad one, health-wise?
I *love* cooking with bacon grease. Do it ALL THE TIME. Sometimes I find myself frying bacon just so I can have grease to use in my cooking.
(I’m a Southern gal, so cooking winter greens in bacon grease is an age old and YUMMY practice.)
Jen Z says
Bacon grease also makes the BEST refried beans. I just heat some in a skillet, then add some cooked pinto or black beans, and mash somewhat. Add some garlic, salt to taste, and maybe add a little water to make the beans not too thick. Cook briefly, and then YUM!
I save all my bacon grease. Even if we’re not having bacon for breakfast, if I have the grease, I cook our eggs in it. YUM!!!
Thanks for the valuable insight. After realizing that canola wasn’t really a healthy option, I recently switched from canola to grapeseed oil for regular cooking. Can you confirm if grapeseed is a healthier option?
You might want to look into the idea of using polyunsaturated fats for high-temperature cooking. They are not stable like saturated fats (coconut oil, lard, butter, ect.) and tend to oxidize when used in cooking. They are also significantly higher in the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio; Americans already get too many Omega-6 in their diet.
Interesting article! I typically stick to EVOOs and Butter for most cooking, except for the occasional deep fryer dinners… What are your thoughts on other vegetable oils such as corn or blends, or peanut oils etc as a best option for both deep frying as well as baking?
What about sunflower oil? I use that all the time instead of canola oil. Is that healthy?
Carrie Bourgo says
I appreciate this post, but it leaves me in a tough place. We have MANY food intolerances, allergies in my home (gluten & dairy are the big ones). My daughter cannot have foods high in salicylates. Coconut oil is on that list. We cannot have butter or ghee either…. and guess what olive oil is out too. Canola oil does not appear to cause my daughter any reactions. So what other options do I have…
Could you use meat fat? Tallow from beef. Lard from pork. Schmaltz from chicken skin. (although that may be pretty high in omega 6 depending on what the chicken ate)
Dan Sloane DO says
Lovelyn, I realize doctors carry a responsibility to inform their pts and that their opinion is expected to be an educated one with factual basis. Unfortunately most Dr’s buy the party line told them by professional organizations, eg. AHA, ADA, AMA, as well as the food industrial complex and it’s proponents. I feel it is unprofessional not to question the motives of these so called pt and consumer groups.
This is why I advise my pts to read labels, educate themselves, and do the same myself. This is a well written and informative article that is backed up by research and common sense. Canola oil is a dangerous farce foisted on the North American public that is wreaking havoc with our health. It is just one of many such misinformatioal ploys to increase profits while supposedly feeding the masses.
Fats, in general are not the problem with our health, but bad fats, like canola and the gas station plastic fats are.
CANOLA is a GMO hybrid… PERIOD! ORGANIC GHEE, coconut oil are for high heat and olive oil is for warm or cold, as in salad dressing. There was a scandal on the adulterated olive oils, so do research to ensure you are not getting a mix. Most name brands are adulterated The net has the list.
CORN?SOYBEAN is GMO at about 86% in the USA. Avoid ANYhing with CORN or SOY.
ALMONF oil may be an alternative for some people or flaxseed oil.Most of the time if you put in GOOGLE DANGERS OF_______ it will give you the info you need. KNOWLEDGE is power!
Sorry to beat a dead horse, but what about canola that is mechanically cold pressed at temps no higher than 40 celcius, without inclusion of O2 or light, that is organic and made without chemicals. Then is it okay? Is it ever okay?
Kathleen Lisle says
ALL fats & oils are bad for us. Dr. Oz did a show about food fraud yesterday, including olive oils & fish, & showing how the public is being ripped off & paying high prices for low quality “foods”. Any fats & oils we eat are deposited in our arteries, blood vessels, & capillaries, which, when plugged by the fats & oils we have eaten, cause diabetes, including blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart attacks, & death. These are all the result of fats clogging our blood vessels, arteries & capillaries. The only way to reverse these problems, is to STOP eating fats & oils, found in meat & dairy & eat a plant-based diet. It’s common sense. Go have the fat levels in your blood checked at your doctor, otherwise known as your cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL & LDL blood lipids. Your doctor will tell you if you are in good health, need Lipitor, or maybe a change of diet. Maybe your doctor will see you as a future case of obesity, diabetes, heart disease & high BP. You should know what the fats & oils you eat, are really doing, inside your body. It’s not rocket science. It’s NOT sugar that clogs the circulatory system with fat. It’s the meat, dairy, eggs, & fried foods. Macular degeneration, neuropathy (bad circulation) in the feet & legs, kidney disease, blindness, amputations, obesity, death. I knew 2 young men that weren’t overweight, & both developed diabetes, because of what they ate. They both died because they didn’t believe that the meat, dairy, eggs, & fried foods were killing them. One went blind, & was sent to a nursing home. He had a foot removed because the blood vessels got clogged & there was no blood flow to his feet. About the time he was healing from the first amputation, he was told the other foot had to be removed. He gave up & died. The other had a wife that cared for him at home. He went blind because of fats that clogged the tiny capillaries in his eyes. He died of heart attacks. My mom & grandma died of heart attacks from diabetes. They ate meat, dairy, eggs, & fried foods. Mom was 61, my grandma was 52. They didn’t have to die. They were too young, but what they ate killed them over time. At least you are saying canola oil is bad for us. Research food fraud. There are you tube videos on food fraud. Wake up & realize what you are doing to your bodies when you eat fatty foods.
All that you are saying has been proven to be incorrect. Even Dr. Oz now knows that all of that info about fats is bunk.
Kathleen- Please read Sugar Nation by Jeff O’Connell. It will educate you greatly on the real cause of diabetes.
So you’re saying that fat clogged his arteries and he had to have his foot cut off?
That’s questionable science at best.
If you are really concerned about heart attacks and diabetes, an anti-inflammatory diet would benefit more than a low fat diet. There are fats that are “soothing” and fats that contribute to inflammation what swells tissues and cuts off circulation. Avocado, coconut, olive do not compare with awful fats like canola and margarine! Sugar and alcohol won’t help either.
D Mowry says
You say all oils are bad, yet on Dr oz’s own site he says soy, which is one of the worst, is OK?
I no longer listen to him.
Lipitor is also on the questionable list
Kathleen you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Hell, even this whole article on canola is a bunch of nonsense. Cardiovascular disease is caused by inflammation, fats are not “deposited” on the flow surface of arteries therefore “plugging” the arteries as many people believe, they actually enter the vessel walls and cause an inflammatory response which breaks down the vessel wall and causes derangment in the blood flow of the artery. These fats entering the vessel wall are not really due to increased dietary fat either and are more than likely related to genetic factors, and other diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Eating fat doesn’t make you fat or unhealthy (maybe trans fats but the scientific literature is inconclusive about that as well). Eggs for example were vilified for years but have recently been shown to lower your risk of heart disease (body-builders and fitness enthusiasts usually eat tons of them every day for years on end but are able to maintain a good physique and avoid chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease) It shocks me that people can be so ignorant and believe everything they read in magazines and see on TV (or read on the internet). To get the real truth you need to understand the physiology of the human body and get your info from the primary source, scientific journal articles. And not just any old study but recent up-to date stuff published in respected journals and peer reviewed by the very best in their fields. This is the same thing that has happened with artificial sweeteners yet no scientific studies have ever concluded that sweetners are unfit for human consumption
Mike P says
Actually healthy fats and oils are an absolutely essential part of a balanced diet. I’m not even going to argue about it because it is too obvious.
But it is still important not to overconsume calories. It is sad that the two young men you mentioned died, but your assessment that they were not everweight is likely in error. The usual path to diabetes is through insulin resistance caused by excess consumption of sugars and carbohydrates, not meat, dairy, eggs and fried foods.
Fats and oils don’t cause obesity by themselves; eating more calories than you use each day causes obesity.
Dan Sloane DO says
Wrong K Lisle. Carbs are the main enemy and the culprit in why the US is obese, unhealthy and has a skyrocketing cancer rate. In 1895 the per capita intake of sugar was 10#’s and by 1990 it had grown to 160#’s. Can you calculate that kind of increases effect on a population. I have many pts in their 80’s and 90’s that ate mainly meat, dairy and eggs. But it was pastured,grass fed meat back then, and whole unhomogenized and even unpasteurized dairy without hormones and eggs by free range chickens. Not the pseudo food we get at the market today. That is why we grow and raise our own.
You have bought the lie, see this video re: the history of how you were indoctrinated into the “fats and oils are Bad” farce.
Thomas Eugene says
Hi, I tried to use the suggested email address provided by Kristin to discuss sweetners. after drafting a nice message refering to a product I felt she was not aware of, The message was blocked,being highlited in red, and saying it was an improper address. I have been floundring around since then trying to find another avenue to get through to you. I had absolutly NO luck foinding a phone # for your org. I am using this method to get through. Please provid me with a valid email. Or respond to this missive. Thank you, Thomas Eugene
I’m a big fan of cooking only with coconut oil due to its high cooking point. As for salad dressings I’m a culprit of using canola oil. (I’m now going to call it rape-oil for the hell of it) It’s interesting to hear they deodorize oils when the n-3 get oxidized. I’m kinda’ scared to smell my salad dressing now. I’m definitely going to start using more cold pressed olive oil for salads thought for sure.
Señor Pipa de La Paz says
I don’t know if these questions have already been asked, if anyone has an answer let me know thanks!
Is olive oil(real) the best oil to use for making all kinds of dressings? Especially sweet dressings.
Same with baking, what’s a good oil for all them good sweet goods?
I’m just nervous about trying olive oil with sweets!
Jason Sandeman says
No offense, but “coconut oil” isn’t a health food either. You do know that most coconut oils you buy it goes through a similar refining process to canola oil, IE using hexane to refine it.
I find it super hard to believe that our ancestors would have gone through such lengths to make an oil UNLESS they were faced with no other choice – IE they were on an island and their main source of protein/fat was coconuts and seafood.
Penniless Parenting says
And what about when you’re making a salad and you dont want as strong a taste as olive oil? What then? I’ve been using sunflower oil- what is a better alternative?
Then don’t use EVOO – extra virgin, use the regular olive oil, not as strong.
Any comments about grape seed oil?
Mas Oyama says
YOUR information is COMPLETELY WRONG. Stick to SCIENTISTS such as Dr. Steven Nissen who DISCREDITS you.
There is A LOT of WRONG infromation on the INternet about health.
READ THE SCIENCVE JOURNALS. CANOLA OIL DOES NOT AT ALL IMPEDE BLOOD FLOW- OLIVE OIL DID.
ROBERT VOGEL ET AL
coconut oil is very high in saturated fat my dear
I was diagnosed with IBS after years of being sick. Went on the BRAT diet and keeping a food journal. I then discovered that Canola Oil was making me sick. I elminated it from my diet and my symptoms went away. If I accidently eat even a minuscule amount I get sick. Going out to eat is no longer an option.
D Mowry says
I understand the restaurant problem. I am allergic to wheat and especially soy. They are in almost everything, and they go right through me.
dave fergusson says
So not only is regular canola oil bad for you, but MONSANTO GMO canola oil is far worse! Here in Australia GMO canola is the only crop allowed at the moment, but with wheat trials finalised in the nations capitol anything could happen!
I have been cooking with organic cold pressed virgin coconut oil from Fiji for just over one year & my blood pressure has dropped from the 160`s/95 to 131/82. There is really no comparison in the taste( you can spread C.O on toast) & canola rubbish!
Lisa S says
My son is allergic to dairy, eggs, and nuts… so I cannot use coconut oil (yes, I know that it is a nut and not a fruit but he reacts to it anyway), butter, ghee, or peanut oil. I have been using olive oil for most of my cooking. Given our situation, is there anything else you would suggest?
What about peanut oil or bacon grease for cooking/frying?
I was told about how canola was unhealthy yesterday and the man that told me said he uses rice bran oil. It has a really high smoke point, but other than that, I don’t know anything else about it yet. Will be researching. Thanks for the info.
Kristen, I don’t think its right to demonize the Oil on its part. From source as raw oil that has just been extracted from seed, its healthy. Demonize the procedure of processing it. I have seen lots of benefits from the oil after using it raw. If you want fine things, you will get them and use them without the smell caused by omega 3, but what do they help you with, would be my question. If the process destroys the nutrients in the name of eliminating the smell caused by the nutrients, then its the processing that’s not healthy and not the oil.
Having a deep distrust of any industrial food manufacturer, I never use anything new, like canola oil, without doing a bit of research. It became quickly apparent to me that this stuff isn’t food and has no place in anybody’s kitchen. Even the claims made for it as a “natural” non-stick material are misleading. This is the age-old process of seasoning a pan and any oil or fat derived from an accepted food source creates exactly the same non-stick surface. Food companies and, I’m afraid, many farmers, will do anything for money – including poison their customers. Thanks for a very interesting article.
Angela Dansby says
I work with CanolaInfo, the non-profit promotion program for canola oil, and have 10 years of experience working with this sector.
Regarding the question of rancidity, the general rule of thumb is that if the oil smells fine, it is fine. Yes, any oil can oxidize if unduly exposed to air, light or heat and the shelf life is typically up to a year when stored properly. But a brand new bottle of oil, unless it was sold past its expiration date, should not at all be rancid. This is true for all vegetable oils.
Moreover, canola oil is processed the same way as other refined vegetable oils, including deodorization (which is part of the refining process, not a substance). Once the oil has been extracted from the seed, it is refined to remove compounds in order for it to have culinary stability, longer shelf life and a lighter colour. The final step of refining, called deodorization, exposes the oil to high heat in a vacuum. It is steam-distilled to remove any remaining compounds that could affect the oil’s taste or smell. In other words, deodorization prevents an off-smell or taste – it does not cause one.
Hi, can I get an opinion? My parents don’t buy organic food but we only have real grass fed organic meat. I am very interested in food and nutrition. My parents refuse to buy organic food because its expensive. But, in the long run you are being cheap to your body…? Anyways, we buy a brand called IGA canola oil All natural. In the ingredients it contains ONLY canola oil. Just because it only contains canola oil is it still bad for you? Do they still oxidize it? It’s very high of course in unsaturated fats and NO sodium.
Thomas M says
Hi, Thanks for the insights. Could you please share with us how you came to this knowledge? Are there studies you read, etc.? Please list some of them as well. I’d love to read them myself.
Mellisa Louise says
What about Grapeseed Oil? Is that similar to olive oil?
I make homemade whole wheat flour tortillas & corn tortillas that I later cut up to make baked pita & corn chips… I’ve been brushing them before baking with olive oil which I know I shouldn’t be doing because of the high temps… any suggestions for an alternative? My EV coconut oil imparts a coconut taste we don’t like for chips… same goes for oven baked potato chips, beet root chips, and french fries. Would love some suggestions for alternatives to olive oil. Thx!!
Tina Gorczyca Bradley via Facebook says
you need to explain this to “almost Whole Foods”…as they have switched to mostly canola oil instead of olive oil…
Anna Scandalis-Bagby via Facebook says
I only cook w/coconut oil.
Trista Gabrielli via Facebook says
Coconut oil and ghee are all we use 🙂
Mike West Westfall via Facebook says
I place a blame on rancid going to the plastic bottles to a degree. Not all that long ago oil came in glass and it didnt go off so fast. For the last year we have been transferring vegetable oil into glass bottles as soon as we get home and it last much longer. A plastic bottle of olive oil went off in just a few months after buying it.
Ruth McKay via Facebook says
Joan Wood via Facebook says
Ewww! No canola oil here!
Rebecca Howard via Facebook says
Let’s start with the fact that its ALL GMO!
Rebecca Howard via Facebook says
Tina- complain a lot to your WF. Ours has switched almost all the hot bar foods to olive oil cuz people wouldn’t eat them. Squeaky wheel gets the (olive) oil!
Goldie Sunny Reilly via Facebook says
Ben & Jerry’s is what I cook with! lol.
Melanie Johnson via Facebook says
Not only that, it contains up to 2% of erucic acid, which is known to be toxic in large quantities, and it makes a small number of people, myself included, very sick. I end up in the bathroom for hours if I have a small amount of food prepared with it.
Paul Katie St Germain via Facebook says
Coconut oil for cooking and also some olive oil
Jonathan Nielsen via Facebook says
Olive oil or coconut oil, or I’ll use lard or ghee.
Amanda McMichael Thomas via Facebook says
Home raised and rendered lard!
Pamela Prettynose via Facebook says
I know right!
Corie O'Neal via Facebook says
Download free instrumentals of songs, unprecedented photos and others via Facebook says
Scaldera Fied via Facebook says
butter, olive oil, bacon! Oh and coconut oil.
Michelle Devine-Edmondson via Facebook says
Alyssa Rawlings via Facebook says
butter, tallow, coconut oil
Thanks for the info!
Just wanna ask, if this is true for canola oil, then isn’t this also true, and worse, for flaxeed oil (which has more omega-3 that which seems to be the main issue) than rapeseed/canola?
Bryce Liston says
Thank you so much for helping to spread the news about this terrible product. I first found out about Canola oil form Dr. Mecola’s website http://www.drmercola.com/ He has many great article on oils and what to chose and why. Another oil you might want to take a look at is avacado oil. It’s good to use when you don’t want to impart the flavor of coconut oil in your recipe. Lard, coconut oil and butter have been villainized by big corporations for many decades. Canola oil is as bad or worse than Margarine. BCListon
Bryce Liston says
I’m sorry I need to leave one more comment. Remember everyone it’s not just the oil, but what’s been done to it. Just like Kristen mentions. Some coconut oil and olive oil go through the same process as Canola, ie, heated and deodorized (processed). It’s the kind of coconut oil you use to get on your popcorn at the theater–It’s cheap. What you want in your oil is cold pressed, just like extra virgin olive oil. Clean and simple.
Cindy Newman via Facebook says
I’m always amused when I see bottles of organic canola oil! How the hell can something as awful as rapeseed oil be called organic.?!
Emil Eidt via Facebook says
Locally sourced olive oil and raw, exclusively grass fed, cow’s milk butter (Occasionally goat’s milk butter as well.) I’m also lucky to have a local source of rendered duck fat and lard. Yum.
Any fat coming from the tropics is likely to be an environmental problem for local residents. Imported olive oil runs the risk of being counterfeit, and corn, “vegetable” and canola oils are highly likely to be GMO.
Chris Edwards Chaney via Facebook says
Unrefined coconut oil, olive oil, bacon fat and grass-fed butter. : )
Nadine Tallon via Facebook says
Lard, coconut oil, light olive oil, macadamia oil.
Valerie Green via Facebook says
I am very unable to even walk into a restaurant that uses canola. Sick for a loong time.
Tim Victor via Facebook says
Lard is the best, lots of monounsaturated fat. Maybe someday I’ll be able to afford to use coconut oil regularly.
Margie Rice Williams via Facebook says
I use coconut oil, butter, and grease from pastured pork. Also use extra virgin olive oil, but don’t cook with it.
Katheryn Barrett via Facebook says
Lotsa pastured lard, home rendered tallow.
Crystal Mazey via Facebook says
Coconut oil, sesame oil, butter, avocado oil and evoo
Michael Link via Facebook says
Coconut oil ftw
Sunshine Zöldi Riehl via Facebook says
Joshua Ferguson via Facebook says
coconut oil for the most part or butter, but i have fallen in love with macadamia nut oil…scrambled eggs in that is soooooooooo good.
Karli Pearson via Facebook says
Real extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil and butter. Canola oil is great for restoring old dried out furniture but I wouldn’t EAT it!
Beth Neathery via Facebook says
EVO, coconut, real butter or grapeseed oil…all non-gmo too, of course:)
Cindy Newman via Facebook says
Butter, ghee, coconut oil, red palm oil, olive oil.
Emily Keffler via Facebook says
Pork lard, duck and goose schmaltz, beef tallow, coconut oil, occasionally red palm oil and olive oil, but mostly butter. MMMmm butter. I hear mac nut oil is handy too.
Lyndal Parker-Newlyn via Facebook says
olive oil, coconut oil or butter. 🙂
Roxanne Elise via Facebook says
Butter, olive oil (extra virgin), coconut oil. My mom used to use lard but it made things taste horrible.
Robyn Stokes via Facebook says
Olive Oil and butter.
Lisa K. Oleson via Facebook says
Bacon grease, butter, coconut oil, ghee, and duck fat when I can find it.
Trish Truitt via Facebook says
I found out years ago but it still surprises me how folks think it and other oils like soy are.
Patricia Wagner via Facebook says
You forgot to mention that is a gmo, unless organic.
Kwiat Tiare via Facebook says
sunflower is the cheapest choice here but I like peanut oil best
Ulla Ericsson via Facebook says
the best oil is extra Virgin olive oil
Denise Horrocks via Facebook says
trying to do more coconut…
Michaela Bitner via Facebook says
coconut oil, butter, ghee, evoo
Jonathan Nielsen via Facebook says
Refined coconut, light olive, ghee, lard, red palm – for stovetop cooking.
Just for your information, every alternative to canola oil given by the author is processed pretty much the same way.
Caustic refining is a process for degumming, they aren’t different things.
AND, refining is a good thing in this case, if the oil wasn’t refined, it would be bad. It would contain metals, corrosive substances, volatile substances and peroxides. Peroxides are bad for your health, and will cause oxidation in your body. Oxidized oils will give you a stomache.
Deodorization is not a process to hide the rancid flavor of the oil, it is for discard the natural compounds of the oil that make it taste bad.
Why is everybody so gullible? I am a chemical engineer, and I can tell you right off the bat that this blog is completely flawed. Why don’t you search “canola oil” on Snopes.com for starters, especially for the non-chemistry folks? Just trying to help. =)
Shirley McDonough says
There is a new product on the market called “Just Mayo.” They are claiming they are non-GMO. Of course it has Canola oil in it (expreller pressed) big deal. How can products keep claiming they are NON- GMO if they contain canola? I have seen many products do this. We stopped using canola in 2008-it caused bruising on my husbands arms. The Dr.s claimed the bruises came from sun damage and perscription meds. He couldn’t
even bump his arm on the door jam without bleeding all over everything. I figure if it causes that on him on the outside – what is it doing to me on the inside? Thanks for the info.
Not all canola oil is processed the same way. Just as you cannot generalize all coconut or olive oils. I research brands until I am find one whose methods I am comfortable with.
I use canola, safflower, olive, etc as alternatives to animal fats such as butter and, mentioned in this post, lard. I am highly uncomfortable with the ways animals are “processed” for food. I don’t need a pat of butter that bad!
Andrea Taivalkoski via Facebook says
Valerie Green via Facebook says
Allergic to Canola! It’s evil! Olive oil, butter, or coconut oil. That’s about it!
Patricia Walker via Facebook says
Brooke C. Arndt via Facebook says
Jaye Morris Lorton via Facebook says
I’ve stopped using canola oil, and the ambiguously labeled “vegetable” oils. I use sunflower oil, and am wondering what other oils you suggest – in particular for cooking at higher temperatures.
Terri McAllister via Facebook says
I don’t know what Kristen will say, but I like grass-fed beef tallow, coconut oil and ghee for higher temps.
Cheryl Patterson via Facebook says
I also have been using light olive oil or other oils since I first canola oil is not what I thought.
Jonita Terrell via Facebook says
butter, coconut, olive
Christina Woodruff via Facebook says
Whats wrong with hybridization?
Food Renegade via Facebook says
Christina Woodruff Nothing at all. The biggest issue isn’t hybridization, but that no matter how the oil is extracted, it needs to be bleached and deodorized to be palatable.
Veronica Cardozo via Facebook says
I use ghee, coconut oil and butter!!!!
Jill Herron Chapin via Facebook says
I still wouldn’t use Canola oil, but there is nothing unnatural about hybridizing.
I’m stunned that you don’t even mention that virtually ALL rapeseed is GMO. It’s not hybridized, it’s created in a laboratory, and in no way is good for you. This is by far the most important aspect of what makes canola oil so dangerous and unhealthy.
Lide Liu says
The article that I read, “Why Canola is Not A Health Food”, claims the people should not use vegetable oil any more. Throughout the author’s research, she finds out that the canola oil will turn rancid very fast after it is oxidation as an apple turns brown in the air. In case of getting rancid, the manufacturer has to deodorize the oil which is adding chemical inside of it. The manufacturer uses chemical bleaching, refining oil. Canola oil has a large number of omega-3 fatty acids, and it is easily becoming rancid and foul-smelling when influenced by oxygen and high temperatures. Therefore, canola oil must be deodorized.
However, my first impression is that the science helps people to go deeper into understanding the characteristic and benefits of our live. The evidence totally convinces me. For instance, author using the oxidation of an apple when it exposes to air as a example tells me why canola oil is not a healthy food.
Sherry Rainbolt via Facebook says
I’m deathly allergic to it. In the process of making garlic salt/powder and onion salt/powder they use canola oil. Found out the hard way o.O When it was first used it was used for industrial gear lubrication, but they make more money selling it as “healthy” oil.
Patricia Walker via Facebook says
Crystal Mazey via Facebook says
Tammy Zanzig this is why we cook with olive oil
Lorie Shaffer via Facebook says
Coconut, of course! I also like Grapeseed , Walnut and Sesame. And if I use Olive, I get it from local (fresh) sources… http://georgiaolivegrowers.com/
Canola Oil is crap oil, developed for corporate farm as an easy cash crop, to sell to stupid consummers as a cheap cooking oil alternative to food grade oils like olive, or butter. Canala oil is good for the lubrication of machinery, and will even work in diesel engines since it will last forever (a hell of a long time) that is why a lot of fast food companies use it for cooking. Just strain it and add to it….. Anyone knows that real food does not last forever. I have a test bottle of this Canola crap oil that is now 10 years old. It sat in my garage during temperatures of at least 110 degrees in the summer, and of at least 15 degrees in the winter time, and every temperature in between . It still looks like it came when new, the color has not changed at all, no changes in consistancy, or clearity, but it still smells like crap. Try doing that to any natural food grade oi and see what happens after a month or so. Canala is great for “killing” bugs. To test it, just put some of the stuff in a bowl or jar outside and see what happens. Bugs are a good test for any food product. If it kills bugs DON”T use or eat it. Canola is highly GMO, and not fit for human consumption. It was designed for profit not for your healt. Use it as a lubricating oil ok, or for a diesel alternate, nothing else, don’t be stupid. Rap oil is crap oil.
So much in your article is scientifically inaccurate. You talk about high heat oxidizing the oil, but this process is done in a closed system with no air exposure. The de-gumming is used to remove plant gums and sterols not because the oil was oxidized. Every manufacturer has a specification to follow for peroxide values and trans fat levels. Bleaching is not done with bleach pr chlorine. They use activated charcoal to absorb colored compounds found naturally in the oil such as lutein and beta carotene which I agree are beneficial and do wish they did not remove these, but even most of the cold pressed organic oils has the same decolorizing, bleaching process. I just wish people writing from a natural perspective would be more accurate with facts to verify them instead of repeating what others write and then believing it at face value.
In particular the reason this is so false is that Canola oil like flax seed oil still retains its omega 3 – it has not all been oxidized as you say in the following, otherwise every lab analysis would show no omega 3 and this is a clearly stated and accepted specification from USDA, FDA, and product manufacturers. “And 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. ” Where in particular did this statement originate from?
Bryan Soltys says
Try grape seed oil. It holds up to high temperatures without turning from omega 3 to omega 6 as some other oils do. Even olive oil can break at very high temperatures.
I read butter from “pasteurized” cows not pastured, poor cows. Thanks for spreading the word on good foods!
Allison, is the bottom of your foot really white where the arch of your foot is?
Bill McCarthy says
What’s the story on Expeller Pressed Organic Canola Oil???? Can’t find anything on the internet about this oil.
You should have gone deeper into the subject. Canola oil that is produced with the cold pression proces does not have the disadvantages you mention above. No heating and no use of hexane mean no trans fats and no residu of unhealthy processing liquids.
However rhe genetic transformation of rapeseed has its unhealthy consequences, although they are indirect and longterm, so can be ignored by foodcontrol institutes.
chris childs says
Thank you for the information was very helpful, going to throw out my bottle of ‘Canola’ oil now!
Joe C Mikus says
I think you missed the best – avocado oil. Enhance your research. It may be the best.
Agree with most everything you have to say in this article… However, I beg to differ about lard. That stuff is TOXIC honey!!!!!!
Roger Kennedy says
What about cold pressed canola oil, supposed to processed with out all the chemical poisons? Or is this just another farce?
Mahatma Gandhi says
I have recently started using Canola oil from Amazon India. Its sold officially by Amazon(Cloudtail). The brand is Borges. From six months i have noticed that the price is down from 250Rs /Litre to 165Rs /Litre. Its becoming so cheap that i started researching about it as i started doubting it. Thats when i came across this page. What shall i do? Keep using it? How can i check its quality? Is Borges a good brand? Do i need to store it in a refrigerator?
more troubling info, try doing a search for “alzheimer’s symptoms worsened by canola oil—and it could cause onset of dementia, scientists warn”
G Edward says
They served food made with canola oil in my rehab hospital and it was so bad odored I lost 30 pounds not eating it until I could get home.