Canola oil - the dirty secret.

Vegetable oil has been touted as the "healthy alternative" to animal-derived fats. So I'm here to give you the skinny on Canola oil, Canada's very own brand of vegetable oil - and it's not the pretty picture of health we'd all hoped for.


Canola oil is actually oil produced from the rapeseed plant, and its name stands for "Canada's Oil" due to the fact that a more favourable varietal to the original was first bred  at the University of Manitoba.  It is liquid at room temperature, and is marketed for its health benefits due to the presence of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids.  

But here is the BIG NEWS:  Of all the crops that are genetically modified, Canola ranks as  tops, right up there with corn and soy!  And while genetic modification has done wonders for the agricultural industry and allowed for higher yields with more consistency, what genetically modified organisms (GMO's) do to our digestive tracts is a whole n'other story.  



What  occurs with the breeding of GMO's is that genes are crossed, and new protein structures are formed within the plant.  Unfortunately when this occurs, our bodies may not recognize the new structures as familiar.  This may cause our bodies to mount an immune response - similar to when your body is faced with a virus or a bacteria - and exhibit symptoms such as gas, bloating, cramping, or other digestive upsets.  

And to go even further, GMO's are typically bred to contain genes that are pesticidal toxins, in order to resist bugs that would normally destroy the plant.  Some of these toxins act by destroying the gut lining of the bugs they target.  Which makes you wonder…what are these genes doing to OUR gut lining?!  The jury is still out on whether or not the toxins are directly harmful, however, recent in vitro (test tube) evidence has shown that GMO-derived toxins cause human intestinal cells to die prematurely.   

The moral of the story: Skip the Canola!  


Olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee…all great alternatives.  Check back later for another post on my favourite topic - healthy fats!