Saturday, February 04, 2006

Canola Oil Low In Saturated Fat, But Is It Healthy?

Canola oil has just 6% saturated fat, so surely it must be healthy, right?

Okay, so you've FINALLY been able to convince yourself that fat is not the grand evil ingredient that makes us fat and you rightly realize that fat is actually ESSENTIAL to your body to make it work the way it was intended. If so, then CONGRATULATIONS because you have graduated to a brand new level of thinking that, sadly, too many people have yet to realize. We'll keep banging that drum and hope those others eventually "get" it, too.

But now there's an important topic of discussion that really should be addressed:

Is consuming canola oil healthy?

This question has been debated in various circles for many years. Of course, canola oil advocates, primarily its manufacturers, say their oil is heart healthy because it contains many types of essential fatty acids that are good for your body and it is the lowest of all oils in saturated fat.

However, research has found that canola oil, which is the most common type of cooking oil purchased and consumed by the public today, is decided UNHEALTHY.

Granted, some cold-pressed canola oils are pretty good for you (although there are better ways to get the omega-3 fats in your diet such as from fish oil), the highly processed canola oils are highly prone to free radical damage when compared to oils rich in mono and saturated fats, such as coconut oil.

Unfortunately, plant-based oils like canola need to be processed and converted into n-3s whereas fish oil is already rich in ready-made long-chain omega-3 fats and thus allows you to meet your n-3 needs with a lower polyunsaturate intake. These can also be found in whole, antioxidant-rich sources such as pumpkin seeds, walnuts, flaxseeks, and omega-3-rich eggs, among others (all of which are perfect when you are livin' la vida low-carb!).

Stick with me here because I have an important point to make.

Canola oil has been found in lab experiments to actually shorten the life span of rodents, worsen kidney disease, and impair development of the hematological system in piglets. Human studies have not been conducted, but many scientists believe the same harmful side effects could extend to human life as well.

For people who want a healthier oil to consume for heart health, the best ones are fish oils, cold-pressed virgin olive oils, and coconut oils. At the same time, there are also benefits to eating lard and butter, too. GASP! Blasphemy! That's what I can hear the low-fatties saying to me now! Bring it on!

Here are just a few references to back up the information I've presented:

Tatematsu K, et al. Dietary canola and soybean oil fed to SHRSP rat dams differently affect the growth and survival of their male pups. J Nutr. 2004 Jun;134(6):1347-52.

Ratnayake WM, et al. Influence of sources of dietary oils on the life span of stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. Lipids. 2000 Apr;35(4):409-20.

Ratnayake WM, et al. Vegetable oils high in phytosterols make erythrocytes less deformable and shorten the life span of stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5):1166-78.

Miyazaki M, et al. Dietary docosahexaenoic acid ameliorates, but rapeseed oil and safflower oil accelerate renal injury in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats as compared with soybean oil, which is associated with expression for renal transforming growth factor-beta, fibronectin and renin. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Jan 3;1483(1):101-10.

Naito Y, et al. Rapeseed oil ingestion and exacerbation of hypertension-related conditions in stroke prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. Toxicology. 2003 May 3; 187 (2-3): 205-16.

Ogawa H, et al. Phytosterol additives increase blood pressure and promote stroke onset in salt-loaded stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2003 Dec; 30 (12): 919-24.

Innis SM, Dyer RA. Dietary canola oil alters hematological indices and blood lipids in neonatal piglets fed formula. J Nutr. 1999 Jul; 129 (7): 1261-8.

Kramer JK, et al. Hematological and lipid changes in newborn piglets fed milk-replacer diets containing erucic acid. Lipids. 1998 Jan; 33 (1): 1-10.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is insane. Although there may be scientific truth to all or some of what you are saying, the reality is that we are too busy in our lives to worry about all that!!! When I go to the grocery store to buy oil to cook my french fries, coconut oil is not my first choice nor is it even an option. Scientific research should always incorporate practicality as well.

11/27/2008 1:48 PM  

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