The origin of canola, the plant engineering behind it, and everything from it’s mysterious approval by the Food and Drug Administration as a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) food in 1985 to it’s trans fat content has come under scrutiny. Canola is an acronym forCanada oil low acid, and was contrived by the Canadian oil industry in 1978. Canadian scientists genetically modified the rapeseed plants for the express purpose of processing the oil for human consumption. It was cheap and easy to grow. In the 1970’s, companies were looking for substitutes for saturated fats, which were being blamed for heart, and other health issues. Enter Canada, to the rescue with canola. Natural rapeseed oil is poisonous to humans, and animals. It contains high levels of erucic acid, which causes heart lesions and other problems. So the need to change the name for marketing purposes was obvious. Rapeseed has been used as a source of lubricating oil for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, but it was unprocessed cold-pressed oil.
Today, Canola oil is processed by using solvents like hexane and other toxic chemicals to strip oils from the seeds. Then using high heat, which turns the omega-3’s in the oil rancid, and very smelly. Which further necessitates processing to remove the odor of the rancid omega-3’s, and turns them into trans-fatty acids. Canola is then hydrogenated to solidify it, (injected with hydrogen) and in this form it may contain as much as 40% trans fats. Before canola, Canadian rapeseed was mainly grown to produce lubricating products for ships. The truth is, rapeseed oil is the most toxic of all food oil plants. Not even insects will eat it. It turns out that rapeseed is a member of the mustard family of plants, and is the source for the chemical agent, Mustard Gas, which causes blistering on skin and lungs when inhaled. mustard gas was banned after WWI for this very reason.
Canola oil’s proponents claim that due to genetic engineering and irradiation, it is no longer rapeseed oil, but canola oil (same oil different name). They also claim it is completely safe, pointing to it’s unsaturated structure and digestibility. However studies of canola oil done on rats indicate many problems. Rats developed fatty degeneration of heart, kidney, adrenals and thyroid gland. When the canola oil was withdrawn from their diet, the deposits dissolved, but scar tissue remained on the organs. Research at the University of Florida-Gainesville, determined that as much as 4.6% of all the fatty acids in unrefined canola are “trans” isomers, which are like plastic, due to the refining process. Yes, plastic, so if you use canola you are ingesting isomers that are similar to plastic and plastic is toxic. When the canola is hydrogenated, you have a double effect of toxins going into your body, trans-isomers, possible plastics.
In Chinese studies it was found that rapeseed oil that is used in China for stir-frying, produces highly carcinogenic smoke. According to The Wall Street Journal on June 7, 1995, an increased incidence of lung cancer occurs in people who breathe that smoke. In 1996, the Japanese announced a study where a 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 diet. In this second study published in Nutrition Research, 1997, v17, the researchers verified that canola oil somehow depleted the piglets of vitamin E to a dangerously low level. In the abstract of the study, the Canadian researchers made the following remarkable statement: “It is known that ingestion of oils containing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) of the n-3 and n-6 series results in a high degree of unsaturation in membrane phospholipids, which in turn may increase lipid peroxidation, cholesterol oxidation, free radical accumulation and membrane damage.” All very bad attributes. Firstly, the idea of something depleting vitamin E rapidly is an alarming development. Vitamin E is absolutely essential to human health.
In addition to that canola oil contains large amounts of isothicyanates, cyanide containing compounds. Cyanide inhibits mitochondrial production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy molecule that fuels the mitochondria part of immune cells, and if the canola oil is hydrogenated, you have a double adverse effect. It is now being observed that eating rapeseed (canola) has a cumulative effect, taking almost 10 years before symptoms begin to manifest. One possible effect of long-term use is the destruction of the protective coating surrounding nerves called the myelin sheath. This is like having raw, open wires in the body. Some symptoms include:
- tremors and shaking
- uncoordination when walking or writing
- slurred speech
- deterioration of memory and thinking processes
- fuzzy or low audio levels
- difficulty urinating/incontinence
- breathing problems/short of breath
- nervous breakdown
- numbness and tingling in extremities
- heart problems/arrhythmia
Also canola oil is a GMO (genetically modified organism) food. In addition, a recent report from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) states that the EPA has classified canola oil as a biopesticide “which has low chronic toxicities.” http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/factsheets/fs011332t.htm Further, they say that NO studies have been done regarding toxic effects on humans. The fact that they state that it is a pesticide, and that there have been no studies, plus the fact it is a Genetically Modified Food, raises a lot of red flags for me. Today, 72% of all products from the United States are genetically modified. The top 3 GMO’s (genetically modified foods) are, Canola, Corn, and Soy. You will find canola not only in oil form, but in most packaged goods that aren’t organic. Such as in bread, margarine, and all sorts of processed foods including tortilla or potato chips, popcorn, breakfast cereal, nutrition bars, candy, baked goods, and all frozen foods, even ice cream. Not to mention it used in certain baby formulas, and baby food. Be informed, and make it a practice to read the package ingredients label so you know exactly what is in your food. Avoid using Canola oil as a cooking oil, cold oil or salad dressing. It is not a healthy oil. Oils such as the high omega-6 ones, Corn oil, Canola oil, and Soybean oil oxidize your cholesterol. That’s how you get bad elevated cholesterol. Go to your cupboard after you read this and throw that bottle of canola oil or canola spray oil away. Replace it with a quality olive or grape-seed, or coconut oil. However, on second thought, save the canola it’ll work great for lubricating bike chain, or anything on your jet ski. Good Luck…