Kate McMurray Nutrition

Love Your Food!

Canola Conundrum

I mentioned earlier that canola oil is NOT something you want in your cupboard. Here’s why:
First off it is a genetically modified product.  “Canola” like “Kleenex” is a brand name for genetically modified rapeseed which grows abundantly in Canada (no wonder canola oil is featured in the Canada Food Guide).  Secondly, this already altered product is further destroyed by a series of harsh processes such as chemical extraction (using solvents derived from petroleum), degumming (to stop cloudiness), refining, bleaching, and deodorizing. During these processes the majority of beneficial vitamins, minerals, phospholipids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, flavour compounds and fatty acids are destroyed. The result is a seemingly benign but totally useless byproduct that we use day in and day out in so many of our dishes as a “healthy alternative.”Hydrogenated oils are even worse. Hydrogenation uses already processed oils and puts them under immense heat and pressure with Hydrogen gas in the presence of a metal catalyst (usually nickel and aluminum). The result is a liquid unsaturated oil transformed into a harder, more solid, more saturated fat with a longer shelf life.  This fat (e.g. margarine, shortening) contains trans fatty acids which are unrecognizable and thus unusable to our body.

There are all sorts of healthy alternatives to canola oil.  Some oils are more suitable for cooking because of their stable nature like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, grapeseed oil and coconut oil. Others are great sources of essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) like flax, hemp,walnut, sunflower and sesame oil but are much more perishable.  The bottom line is we should have a variety of oils in our diets and all of them should be as unrefined and organic as possible if we are going to reap their benefits.

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4 comments on “Canola Conundrum

  1. Amanda
    April 19, 2011

    I use Canola oil instead of olive when I’m heating to high temps because olive gets all smokey past a certain temperature. What should I use instead??

  2. katelivingfull
    April 19, 2011

    You’re on the right track in terms of using a more saturated fat for high temperatures (polyunsaturated fats like olive oil are prone to oxidation and the formation of free radicals at high heat which is bad news!) Grapeseed oil is a great alternative when you want something benign. Otherwise I’d use coconut oil (for pancakes, muffins etc.)

  3. Pingback: Ginger Chocolate Cookie Goodness | katelivingfull

  4. Pingback: News Flash: Tahini is the new mayonnaise! | katelivingfull

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This entry was posted on April 8, 2011 by in Nutritional info.

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