Welcome back! This second segment in the Fat Myths & Lies series will be much shorter, but no less important! For this next go around, we are taking a closer look at the oil that is ever-present in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and most restaurants, Canola!
Oh Geeze, Get Over Yourself, Canola is HEART HEALTHY!
Now that we understand the concept of saturated (when talking about fats), we can revisit the problem with unsaturated fats. Because they have a vacancy sign on their lobby window, (in this case, room for hydrogen bonds), unsaturated fats leave themselves wide open for unwanted visitors. Food manufacturers can mess with the molecular structure of these fats, all in the name of money. Canola oil must be changed because as you’ll see in a video below, it’s pretty far from a natural product.
Chemists and food scientists alter Canola oil to make it ready for shelves. Otherwise, fast food chains would be frying their food in stinky sludge. Once the oil is genetically modified and ready for stores, we would think the oil is all clear for consumption. (Pun mildly intended.)
Meh, I’m Ok With That
Here’s where the next problem arises. Heat, oxygen, and light are all components that can continue to modify the structure of unsaturated oils. If you notice, the higher quality and often more expensive oils at the grocery store are sold in either dark glass or tins. This is to prevent the bright lights of the store from changing the oils.
Canola oil is, unfortunately, packaged in clear bottles and directly under grocery store lighting.
Are You Sure It Isn’t Heart Healthy?
In 2010, a meta-analysis of over 300,000 people in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that there is no evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease. A Japanese study followed nearly 60,00 men for 14 years and found that saturated fat intake had no correlation to rates of heart disease. However, numerous studies show that the consumption of vegetable oils, such as canola oil, increase the risk of heart disease. (Geerston, 2014)
Does That Really Matter?
When canola oil is subjected to heat, light and/or oxygen, it can easily rancidify. In addition to tasting and smelling, well…rancid, these oils can quickly cause free radical damage to the human body. I can’t think of a fun wait to put this, cells subjected to free radical damage are the beginning of Cancer.
To prevent customers from tasting or smelling rancid Canola oil, it is deodorized and has hydrogen added to it. It’s estimated that this type of thing happens with over 90% of Canola oil manufactured. Have you heard the term, partially hydrogenated? That’s what’s happening here. It’s a scientific name for, “We gonna make you eat trans fat.”
Trans fat is to heart-healthy as Death Metal is to sleep-inducing.
What is Canola Oil, Anyway?
Canola oil is made from genetically modified rapeseed plants. The problem was that “rapeseed oil” was so toxic that the FDA banned it for human consumption in 1956. In the 1970’s, Canadian growers bred a new variety of rapeseed with a lower content of the toxic erucic acid, and the name of the new oil was L.E.A.R. (Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed) oil. Eventually, it was renamed “Canola” for marketing reasons, because no company wanted to be associated with a product having “rape” in its name and “rapeseed” oil was well-known to be a toxic oil…Even insects won’t eat it! (Betesh, 2014)
You’ve Gotta See This
So, Canola is a freak oil. If you aren’t yet convinced that Canola isn’t a straight from nature food, you’ll love this video. The sludge is truly horrifying and my hope is that we all quit eating foods that have been drenched in it. Take a look, it’s almost comical.
Ready For the Worst Part?
Why’s there always gotta be the worst part?
I’ll break it to you easy, Canola oil is a brain eater. Yep, it’s part of The Walking Dead. Let me tell you more. Shoot, this was supposed to be short. Hang tight, we’re almost there.
The fascinating book, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, is an in-depth look into what author Catherine Shanahan, M.D. calls “The Four Pillars of the Human Diet.” Throughout the book, the author urges us to cut out the unnatural and eat what mankind was designed for.
Not all food is created equal. Real food contains ordered information that can direct our cellular growth in a positive way. our family history does not determine our destiny. What you eat interacts with your DNA in ways that affect your health and the health of your future children. (Shanahan, 2008)
Directly after Chapter 7, titled “Good Fat, Bad Fat”, is the zombie chapter, “Brain Killer: Why Vegetable Oil Is Your Brain’s Worst Enemy.” (Canola oil is considered a vegetable oil). The evidence Shanahan lays out is undeniable.
Cate Shannahan was the Director of Nutrition for the Los Angeles Lakers and is the reason why Kobe Bryant swears by bone broth. I first heard of her while listening to the podcast, Bulletproof Radio hosted by one of my health heroes, Dave Asprey. I had the opportunity to hear him speak in San Francisco, back in 2017. His whole team had a vibrancy and energy like I’ve never seen.
Oh Yeah, Canola oil.
If you’d like to give a listen, I’d highly encourage it. Otherwise, this snippet below points to only ONE of the reasons vegetable oils should be considered brain killers.
Dave Asprey: “What happens if someone eats a deep-fried food one time full of these vegetable oils? What does it do to their brain?
Dr. Cate S.: Researchers in Australia asked a very similar question in 2006, and they published their findings in the American Journal of Cardiology…They looked at what happened when you took a serving of french fries from a restaurant, a standard restaurant, towards the end of the week … because that oil is used over and over again. You don’t know when you get there how old it is…One serving of fries, a single serving, in healthy, young volunteers around their 20s, they measured what happens to a physiologic process called endothelial function, which helps regulate your blood flow. As we get older, we lose endothelial function. This loss of function is very important to normal sexual function, also. That’s why we associate poor sexual function with aging, because it depends entirely, very hugely, on this … Hugely, what a good use of that word.
Dave Asprey: I was just going to say I’m glad we’re talking, because I’m feeling good about myself right now. I’m just saying.
Dr. Cate S.: It very much depends on the endothelial function to dilate those arteries and get your hugely on.
Dave Asprey: Well said.
Dr. Cate S.: The french fries, one serving, reduced their endothelial function for up to 24 hours. How much did it reduce it? It obliterated it.
For the rest of the zombie story, pick yourself up a copy of Deep Nutrition, or listen on Audible, it may not have actual zombies or a love triangle, but it’s an insanely valuable read. More than cutting out gluten, eating vegetables or giving up sugar, Dr. Shanahan believes everyone should first immediately cut all vegetable oils from their diets. She doesn’t mess.
What Oil CAN I Use?
When it comes to cooking, stick to Almond oil, Avocado oil, Butter, Coconut, Duck Fat, Ghee, Lard, Macadamia nut oil, Peanut oil or other quality animal fats.
For oils that won’t be heated, use anything that says cold-pressed and unrefined. The unrefined is non-negotiable when it comes to your health.
From Dr.Cate.com: Be sure you don’t cook with Flax, Sesame, Walnut (Exception: Sesame plus peanut or other more stable oil, see below)
HEALTHY OIL COMBINATIONS:
BUTTER+OLIVE: Add a pat of butter to olive oil when cooking at high heat, the saturated fat in the butter protects the olive oil and the antioxidants in the olive oil protect the protein in the butter that might otherwise burn.
SESAME+PEANUT: Add sesame to peanut oil for Asian dishes. The ratio should be roughly 4-8:1 Peanut: Sesame. Sesame is high in PUFA, but it has powerful antioxidants that, when added to low PUFA peanut oil, protect all the PUFAs.
Still With Me?
Thank you for hanging in there. I know sometimes there ain’t no party like a learn about fat party. But that sometimes is uh…pretty rare. One more segment to go. What excitement lies ahead of us for the final installment? I better call HBO and see if they wanna pick this thing up. Go toss your Canola oil and treat yourself to oil of higher quality. Your heart and brain are worth it!