Canola is an affordable vegetable oil with a high smoke point used in processed foods, bottled salad dressings and sauces, restaurant meals and prepared foods. Because of its neutral flavor, many chefs and home cooks use it in their kitchens too. You’ve probably heard conflicting information – some say it’s heart healthy and others say to avoid it completely. What to do?

There are many concerns… and because of them, we suggest avoiding it. Here are some reasons why:

Genetically Modified

Approximately 90% of all canola oil is from genetically modified crops. While some scientists say GMO foods are OK for human consumption, it’s not just the food products that we need to think about, but also herbicides, such as glyphosate, used in growing and manufacturing and a whole host of other reason we like to avoid GMOs!

Highly Processed

The process of manufacturing canola oil is referred to as RBD – refined, bleached, deodorized. Hexane and other chemicals along with high heat are used which alters the fats making them unstable and rancid.

Unhealthy Fats

Artificial trans fats are created during the manufacture of canola oil, and while the trans fat content is low, even a small amount can be inflammatory. Especially watch out for any canola oil that is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated such as margarine or shortening. The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of canola oil is 2:1 which contributes to overall inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and heart disease. While 2:1 is not the worst, the typical American diet is already too high in omega 6s, no need to add more. When you have a foods made with canola oil here and there throughout the day, those unhealthy fats add up causing inflammation and oxidative stress!

So Many Better Options

Why use canola oil with its many concerns when there are so many better options out there. Look for “cold-pressed,” meaning that there is no heat used in the extraction process. Organic extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter and ghee are much better alternatives for human consumption – and they are quite delicious. (And if you are still a little afraid of adding fats to your food, check out Dr. Lipman’s article Make Friends with Fat – and Savor the Benefits)

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