Canola Oil Report

The following is adapted from reportage beginning in 1996 by Tom Valentine under the trade names of Carotec, Search for Health, and True Health based in Naples, Florida, and Mary Enig, Ph.D., who is the current world authority on trans–fatty acids. A short piece from Acres USA, March 2001 acts as an introduction to the report.


From Letters to the Editor, Acres USA magazine, March 2001
The Straight Dope on Canola Oil

“Is canola oil not a healthy oil? I have a small business helping people with health and wellness, and I was lead to believe canola oil was “good” oil. I trust your research and truly enjoy the newspaper.” — Bonnie Hach, Alta, Iowa

(Acres’ response) We’ve all been told at some time or another that canola is one of the healthiest oils on the market. Canola, which is an amalgam of the words “Canada” (whence it originated) and “oil,” is actually derived from the rapeseed, a member of the mustard family which is generally unfit for human consumption and was once more commonly used as a potent pesticide and lubricant, among other things. Chemically, canola breaks down at 5% saturated fat, 57% oleic acid, 23% omega–6, and 10–15% omega–3.

The reason canola is particularly unsuited for consumption is because it contains a very–long–chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions.

Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, notes that the omega–3 fatty acids of processed canola oil are transformed during the deodorizing process into trans–fatty acids. She relates that one study indicated that “heart healthy” canola oil actually created a deficiency of vitamin E, which, as many of us know, is essential to our cardiovascular health. And on the practical side of things, canola isn’t that good either. Because of its high sulphur content, it goes rancid easily, and baked goods used with the oil develop molds rather quickly.


It has been very much in vogue in healthfood circles to praise canola oil as very healthy oil — high in polyunsaturates, while condemning tropical oils such as coconut or palm oil as being saturated and unhealthy.

The high praise for canola is propaganda put forth by the Canadian government because “canola,” a hybridized rape plant, is one of that nation’s chief export products. Rapeseed oil contains toxic erucic acid. Canola has much less erucic acid in it.

Healthfood store operators parrot the hype without checking any facts. Consumers search out various products with canola oil in them because they believe this is somehow much healthier than other oils. All foodgrade canola, including the varieties sold in healthfood stores, are deodorized from its natural terrible stink with 300 degree F. high–temperature refining. You cannot cook a vegetable oil at that temperature and leave behind anything much edible.

Research at the University of Florida– Gainsesville, determined that as much as 4.6% of all the fatty acids in canola are “trans” isomers (plastic) due to the refining process. Contrary to popular opinion, saturated fats, especially those found in coconut oil are not harmful to health, but are important nutrition. There are no trans isomers in unrefined coconut butter, for example. This refers to many published research papers by Mary Enig, Ph.D. that refutes all the establishment propaganda condemning saturated fats.

In 1996, the Japanese announced a study wherein a special canola oil diet had actually killed laboratory animals. Reacting to this unpublished, but verified and startling information, a duplicate study was conducted by Canadian scientists using piglets and a canola oil based milk replacer diet.

In this second study published in Nutrition Research, 1997, v17, the researchers verified that canola oil somehow depleted the piglets of vitamin E to a dangerously low level.

In the abstract of the study, the Canadian researchers made the following remarkable statement: It is known that ingestion of oils containing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) of the n–3 and n–6 series results in a high degree of unsaturation in membrane phospholipids, which in turn may increase lipid peroxidation, cholesterol oxidation, free radical accumulation and membrane damage. All very bad attributes.

That statement is remarkable because PUFA is considered essential to a healthy diet. Yet none of the above listed results of eating it may be considered healthy. So now we have something seemingly brand new to the dietary health arena.

Here the Canadians are condemning any oil that contains essential fatty acids. EFAs cannot stand heat. They turn rancid quickly. Proper processing, i.e., cold pressing, and protection from oxygen for storage is paramount with EFAs. Mainstream toxic commercial food making requires complete removal of EFAs lest shelf life disappear in smelly rancidity.

Absent the removal of EFAs, few manufactured toxic chemical foods would make it out of the warehouse. So, here we have Canadians telling us that their country’s main oil export kills little animals. They suggest that perhaps it was the health giving EFAs left in the canola oil after it had been scorched at temperatures above 300 degrees farenheit to get rid of the EFAS. They don’t tell you that whatever EFAs are left in the oil, are now poisonous rancid fats. It may be that the now toxic remnants are what’s killing the vitamin E, and killing the little piggies. I think the Canadians produced that deceptive half truth to protect their careers from grant drought.

Firstly, the idea of something depleting vitamin E rapidly is an alarming development. Vitamin E is absolutely essential to human health, and when so much PUFA is available to diet as it is today, the demand evidently becomes even more imperative because tocopherols control the lipid peroxidation that results in dangerous free radical activity, which causes lesions in arteries and other problems.

Canola oil now has been shown to be a very heavy abuser of tocopherols or vitamin E, with the potential for rapidly depleting a body of the important vitamin. The researchers did not know what factors in the canola oil were responsible. They reported that other vegetable seed oils did not appear to cause the same problem in piglets.

Genetically Manipulated Canola Seed Gets Loose In The Fields

Monsanto announced in April 1997, that it was recalling genetically engineered canola seed because an unapproved gene slipped into the batch by mistake. The canola seed had been genetically manipulated to resist the herbicide toxicity of Roundup, which is Monsanto’s top money making product. The recall involved 60,000 bags containing two types of canola seed, which is enough to plant more than 700,000 acres. Both types of seed have the wrong gene in them. The genes in the recalled seed have not been approved for human consumption.

A spokesman for Limagrain Canada Seeds, which was selling the seeds under a Monsanto license, said that experts are trying to determine how the mistake occurred. “We may never know how this happened”, he lamented.

The implications of this error are serious. No one in his right mind is unconcerned about genetic manipulations getting lost.

On January 26, 1998 Omega Nutrition, one of the major producers of organic, cold pressed oils for the health food store market published a press release. The release states that if you are cooking with canola oil of any quality, you might as well be using margarine. In the case of refined canola oil, the important health benefits have been processed away — leaving the consumer with the nutrition of say, white flour — and, dangerous trans–fatty acids have replaced a lot of the beneficial omega 3 essential fatty acids.

Oils high in omega 3 are not capable of taking high temperatures. Heating canola distorts the fatty acid turning it into an unnatural form of trans fatty acid that has been shown to be harmful to health.

According to Mary Enig, PhD., unrefined coconut oil is safe to use in cooking. Finding it is not so easy as a result of the American establishment’s highly successful attack on all imported palm and coconut oils. Udo Erasmus, Ph.D., another highly regarded international expert on fats and oils, says both are the same. They are named for their physical state at room temperature. Udo says the only safe oil to use to fry or bake with, is water.
He says no fat can stand the temperatures used in food processing without being adversely affected.

MARGARINE isn’t raised as an issue on those pages. So I will say a few words about it. (Oleo) Margarine isn’t food. It is a manufactured grease concocted in a machine from various oils and chemicals. Then it is colored and molded to pose as butter. Its stiffness comes from being loaded with trans–fatty acids. One concoction has it combined with corn oil. “I can’t believe it isn’t butter !!”

Canola and soy fats (oils) are in nearly all margarines. This butter substitute does not exist in nature. It cannot be grown or converted from a natural food as butter and cheese is.

Margarine was invented to win a prize when Napolean III was surrounded and ran a contest for a palatable grease for his otherwise dry bread. Research the word in Most restaurants substitute it for butter without notice to you. Commercially manufactured ingestibles use margarine wherever butter would be used in their recipe. There are licensed dieticians and physicians who, in total ignorance, will sincerely urge you to eat this poison in pursuit of better health. The usual canard is, “It will reduce your cholesterol levels,” a non–sequiter which is yet another awesome fraud. Your brain is mostly cholesterol. And “higher” than average levels are the result of, not the cause of underlying problems.

Partially hydrogenated oils — trans–fatty acids, are always poisonous. Mary Enig’s original laboratory research is currently the world’s standard for understanding the basis for the foregoing statement. Cooks and chefs working recipes that call for shortening or fats input will have to find coconut oil or use saturated animal fat, or olive oil if they are interested in producing something other than poison. I don’t eat restaurant food, nor any manufactured edible. Well, maybe one cookie once in awhile.

5 March 2OOl —