Canola Oil

>> Thursday, January 29, 2009

I get really bogged down when I start thinking about oils. I start tuning out when I read words like saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated. And I really get lost when I start reading about short-chain, medium-chain, and long-chain fats. TOO scientific for me! I do know, however, that hydrogenated oils are bad (read those labels!) and olive oil is good. I also know that Americans kinda have it backwards when it comes to the discussion of cholesterol and fats. We have been taught to eat low fat or no fat. But fat is not the enemy...bad fat is! We need GOOD fats in our diets. In fact, for babies and children fat is very important. We just need to educate ourselves more about this topic and choose our fats wisely.

I found this interesting tidbit of information recently,

"Anyone who has eaten his way across France has observed that the French diet is loaded with saturated fat in the form of butter, eggs, cheese, cream, liver, meats and rich pates. Yet the French have a lower rate of coronary heart disease than many other western countries. In the United States, 315 of every 100,000 middle-aged men die of heart attacks each year; in France the rate is 145 per 100,000. In the Gascony region, where goose and duck liver form a staple of the diet, this rate is a remarkably low 80 per 100,000. This phenomenon has recently gained international attention and was dubbed the French Paradox. (The French do suffer from many degenerative diseases, however, They eat large amounts of sugar and white flour and in recent years have succumbed to the timesaving temptation of processed foods.)" from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

I thought I would do some more research this week on the topic of oils and report my findings. Starting with canola...

"Canola oil is "widely recognized as the healthiest salad and cooking oil available to consumers." It was developed through hybridization of rape seed. Rape seed oil is toxic because it contains significant amounts of a poisonous substance called erucic acid. Canola oil contains only trace amounts of erucic acid and its unique fatty acid profile, rich in oleic acid and low in saturated fats, makes it particularly beneficial for the prevention of heart disease. It also contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, also shown to have health benefits. This is what the food industry says about canola oil.

Canola oil is a poisonous substance, an industrial oil that does not belong in the body. It contains "the infamous chemical warfare agent mustard gas," hemagglutinins and toxic cyanide-containing glycocides; it causes mad cow disease, blindness, nervous disorders, clumping of blood cells and depression of the immune system. This is what detractors say about canola oil.

How is the consumer to sort out the conflicting claims about canola oil? Is canola oil a dream come true or a deadly poison? And why has canola captured so large a share of the oils used in processed foods?"

If you want to read more click here.

It's all so confusing and contrary to what we've been taught. More to come...


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