What’s Wrong with Canola Oil?

canola oil

We’ve had a few questions about Canola Oil so we thought we’d give a brief summary of why this is not a good choice of oil to cook with,  use in baking or see it on an ingredients list in our packaged food.  Despite these claims however, Canola Oil is often touted as the ‘healthy oil’ because of its high smoke point, combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat and significant amounts of Omega 3.

Before we get into the history and production of canola oil, first just think of olive oil- cold pressed from an olive. Macadamia oil- cold pressed from macadamia nuts. Coconut oil- from the coconut… Canola oil? From the canola? No… the rape seed plant.  Rape seed oil had been used in Asia for many years but the oil was extracted by first cooking the seeds and then extracting the oil at low temperatures. It hadn’t caused any health issues to the Asians who had been using it for centuries, but it is thought that the low level extraction process made it safe. It was banned in the US in the 1950’s because it was found to contain toxic Eurcic Acid. During the early 80’s a hybrid version of the plant was created by a Canadian man, thus giving it the name Canola Oil (Canada oil).

The modern processing of Canola Oil is a very chemical laden process. It starts with a high temperature, mechanical extraction process, followed by refining, bleaching and degumming which needs more high heat processing. The Omega 3 fatty acids found in Canola Oil go rancid when exposed to these high heating processes thus creating foul smelling fumes so then it needs to be deodorised. This deodorisation process turns some of the Omega 3 into trans fats but the true value of these trans fats is not always listed.  Canola oil, when used in packaged food has been hardened by the hydrogenation process resulting in more trans fats.

Generally when we think about fats/oils we want to answer yes to these questions….

  • Did our great great grandmothers use it?
  • Did it go through minimal and low heat processing?
  • Is it close to being a natural product?

Canola oil definitely doesn’t answer yes to any of the above.  Canola Oil has no nutritional benefit and is toxic and inflammatory in our bodies.