Dr. Guy Crosby a professor of nutrition at the Harvard school of public health has concluded that canola oil is generally considered healthy because it is low in saturated fat and it contains antioxidant components, phytosterols that help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the body. He also states that it contains a significant amount and is a good source of heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats (9-11%).
He does express concern with the safety of canola due to the processing it undergoes. He compares it to other processed foods that contain harmful trans fatty acids that pose numerous health concerns. He advises that cold-pressed canola oil exists but it is very expensive and hard to find yet this is the best option.
The Impact of Canola Oil on Health
Canola oil is often referred to as a healthy choice for oils because it is low in saturated fat. It is also appealing to a lot of people because it is less expensive than other healthier vegetable oil options. Recent research is showing that this common oil can actually have a negative influence on memory loss, specifically in reference to Alzheimer’s disease.
These recent findings imply that those who consume canola oil regularly may have a negative impact on brain health. Studies are showing that unhealthy amounts of plaque buildup in the brain are common with those who consume canola oil regularly. Additional research suggests that regular consumption may even cause weight gain.
History of Canola Oil
Canola oil was first created in Canada by their government during the 1970s, it is cheap to manufacture and many of the processed foods in the grocery store contain it. In 1995 Monsanto created a genetically modified version of canola oil in the US and almost 100% of the canola oil grown here is genetically modified.
Not only is it genetically modified, but it is also refined which means the oil is partially hydrogenated to increase its shelf life stability. This results in an increased amount of negative health issues that go along with consuming it.
Canola Oil Study on Mice
Temple University in Philadelphia performed a 12-month study involving mice and compared the brain health of two groups. One group consumed canola oil regularly and the other group consumed olive oil regularly. The group who consumed olive oil versus the mice that consumed canola oil had very different outcomes. There were significant improvements in the brain health of the mice that consumed olive oil compared to those that consumed canola oil.
In the canola oil-consuming group there was a decreased level of peptides that protect neurons in the brain from damage, and there was an increased formation of plaque in the brain of the mice that consumed canola oil. In addition to the difference of brain health and plaque build up the mice that consumed canola oil also gained a significant amount of weight compared to the other group.
Additional Health Concerns about Canola Oil
Health issues that go along with the consumption of canola oil include heart problems, kidney and liver issues in addition to increasing the risk of hypertension and strokes. The increased risk for disease is due to the excess consumption of trans fats because during the processing canola oil becomes partially hydrogenated, which is trans fat. This processed version of canola is what is mostly used in foods that we buy at the grocery store; sadly it is an extremely high 40 percent.
Health concerns associated with canola oil being GMO (genetically modified organisms) include but are not limited to potential toxicity increased allergic reactions, suppression of the immune system, cancer and malnutrition. It is important to note that long-term health effects from GMO have yet to be determined since the introduction of GMOs is so new to our massive food production and farming industry.
In addition to the risk factors for adults canola oil poses risk to infants. Canola oil is a common ingredient in infant formula and it specifically contains euroic acid. This acid is harmful to infants because their bodies have a hard time breaking it down, resulting in a possible stunting of normal growth patterns.
There are several other healthy oil options to substitute for canola oil, including cold pressed and virgin coconut oil, olive oil, ghee or real butter.
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Conclusion and Final Thoughts about Canola Oil
It is becoming more apparent that the government food organizations are receiving funding from extremely lucrative big food companies to perform research. When statements are made publicly and have gained a lot of public recognition it is best to look for the specific studies behind the claim and what organizations funded those studies.
Always look deeper into any health claims and get real facts and use them to guard and protect your overall health and well being. I recommend avoiding canola oil due to the harsh processing it undergoes, resulting in oil that is hydrogenated and due to the high percentage of GMO canola oil. Instead stick with the alternatives given above as your oil options.
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