You may or may not have been hearing rumblings from your friends, trainers, random nutrition people, that canola oil is TOXIC, CANCER CAUSING, UNHEALTHY, CARCINOGENIC, etc, etc.
In 2013 I started hearing the rumblings myself...
"Oh my gosh you aren't going to eat that are you? It has CANOLA OIL in it! That's so bad for you. You know whole foods is banning it from all their stores."
"Oh really?" I said.
Naturally, I got curious and started asking questions. Usually these "what the health?!" topics get started when a little bit of science gets blown out of proportion and misused. So I scoured through all of my past textbooks, food science and new research and still couldn't make sense of it. Yes it is a high GMO crop, but what else is going on here? So back in 2013 I reached out to PCC and Whole Foods to see what they had to say.
From Whole Foods:
"Thank you for contacting Whole Foods Market. WFM does allow and always has allowed canola oil. It is used in our delis as it has a good smoke point (can be used up through medium high- heat cooking) and a neutral flavor, making it an oil that has a wide range of uses. It is also a source of omega 3. Canola is a specifically bred variety of rapeseed and is part of the mustard (or Brassica) family whose other members include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and mustard greens. There appears to be much confusion concerning the safety of canola oil. Whole Foods Market believes canola oil is a safe and wholesome food and, therefore, will continue to sell it in our stores. In order to ensure the highest quality oil possible, we feature expeller-pressed, organic canola oil in our stores."
Global Customer Information Specialist | Whole Foods Market | 550 Bowie Street | Austin, Texas 78703
"We have NO plans at all to ban it [canola oil] at PCC, but I get a question almost every single week about canola from our shoppers - who have read online that it is toxic. As a result (of this popular misconception), we don't use it in our delis - instead we use a combination of EVOO and (high oleic) safflower oils. I recently wrote an article on good alternatives to olive oil, and (as expected) it got a lot of feedback, here is a link: http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/nutrition/ask/high_heat_oils.html
(the article even inspired someone to post their own blog/rant on cooking oils in the comments)
And here is a link to PCC's cooking oils brochure, we recently added "toxic canola" as a FAQ - http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/guides/tips_cooking_oils.html
Lmk if you have any more questions here..."
Nick Rose, MS
Nutrition Educator / PCC Natural Markets
206.547.1222 (ext. 140) / email@example.com / www.pccnaturalmarkets.com
and in a recent follow up with Nick at PCC he recently wrote this article specifically on Canola Oil: http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/sc/1404/questioning_canola.html
The bottom line is that Canola began getting a bad reputation because of the mis-association of Canola with Erucic Acid from Rapeseed Oil. I think that "Rapeseed into Canola: A Cinderella Story" says it best...
"Rapeseed and canola are not terms to be used interchangeably. Canola was developed from rapeseed through the use of traditional plant breeding techniques. The crops differ with respect to their chemical composition and nutritional quality. Rapeseed oil contains a high proportion of erucic and eicosenoic acids which are not essential for human growth, and render the oil unfit for human consumption. In addition, the protein meal fraction left over after crushing, contains compounds called glucosinolates which inhibit growth in livestock. Conversely, canola oil contains low levels of erucic acid, and has the best nutritional profile of any vegetable oil on the market. Canola meal is also low in glucosinolates which enables it to be used as a nutritious protein source in livestock feed rations. According to the 1986 trademark, canola oil may not contain more than two percent erucic acid, and the solid fraction of the seed may not contain more than 30 micromoles per gram of glucosinolates (Canola Council of Canada Canada’s Canola, 2-3)."
MY CONCLUSION: CANOLA IS A GREAT HIGH HEAT, NEUTRAL FLAVOR OIL! JUST BUY ORGANIC, COLD-PRESSED CANOLA OIL.
Have a "What the HEALTH?!" topic you'd like us to research and comment on? Let us know by emailing Crave@Crave-Health.com with your topic.