Is Canola Oil Good for Consumption?
Is Canola Oil a Better option for Healthy Eating?
The usage of canola oil has spread all over the world, making it the third largest produced oil crop in the world. As the oil crop’s popularity continues to grow, concerns have been raised about the possible impacts it has on the health of its consumers. This article focuses on some of key characteristics of canola oil and the health concerns associated with the oil consumption.
- Canola Oil Contains High Omega-6 Fats
Your body needs omega-6 fats, just as it needs omega-3 fats, to perform some of its important functions. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be 1:1. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in canola oil is 2:1, which is not so alarming at first, yeah? However, since canola oil is contained in many foods, this makes it a major source of omega-6 in the diet. If a diet is high in omega-6s and low in omega-3s, an imbalance will be caused. The imbalance is associated with some chronic conditions, for example, Alzheimer’s disease, heart diseases and obesity.
- Canola is Mostly Genetically Modified
Over 90% of the canola crops grown in Canada and the United States are genetically modified. GMO foods have engineered genetic material in order to eliminate or introduce some specific qualities. For canola, the genetic material is modified to be resistant to pests and herbicides. Scientists have declared genetically modified foods to be safe, though concerns about their impact on public health and safety are still being raised. This makes a large portion of the population to avoid them.
- Canola Oil is Highly Refined
Canola oil is highly refined as its production involves a lot of high heating and chemicals. Canola oil production process has some stages like bleaching and deodorizing, all which involve chemical treatment. This is the reason behind why canola and some other oils are called RBD – refined, bleached and deodorized. Refining decreases nutrients in oils, for example, essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants. However, unrefined and cold-pressed canola oil does exist, although most of the canola oil on the market is highly refined.
Possible Harmful Effects of Canola Oil
It is ironical that there are few long-term studies on the health impacts of canola oil, which is the world’s third most used type of oil. The few studies that are there about its health benefits are mostly sponsored by the canola industry. There is some evidence, however, suggesting that canola oil actually has negative impacts on your health. Some of these include:
Some studies have been conducted that link canola oil to increase in oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress is the imbalance between antioxidants, which prevent free radical damage, and the harmful free radicals, which cause inflammation. In a certain study, some rats were fed on a diet containing 10?nola oil. These rats experienced decrease in some several antioxidants and increase in harmful LDL cholesterol levels. The diet also significantly led to decreased lifespan and increases in blood pressure. Another study, still conducted on rats, show that compounds formed after heating the canola oil increased some inflammatory markers in the oil.
Impact on Memory
Canola oil has been shown to have some negative impacts on the memory. A study was conducted on some mice, where they were fed food rich in canola oil. This led to significant harm to their memory as well as increase in their body weight. Another human study was conducted for period of one year. It involved 180 older adults who were randomly assigned a control diet. The diet was either rich in refined oils, canola included, or without refined oils and instead, 20-30 ml of virgin olive oil daily. It was observed that the group that used olive oil had experienced an improvement in their brain function.
Impact on the Heart
There are many reviews that suggest that canola oil improves the heart health, which is disputed by recent studies. Mostly these reviews are either funded by the canola industry or they usually refer to unrefined cold-pressed canola oil.
A study was conducted in 2018 involving 2,071 adults. These adults reported on the type of cooking fat they used and how often they used them. Among the overweight participants, those who used canola oil more likely had metabolic syndrome (excess belly fat, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol) than those who never used it. The metabolic syndrome increases your risk of contracting a heart disease.
Another analysis was done on 458 men, who had replaced saturated fats with vegetable oils. They were observed to have lower LDL cholesterol levels. However, they were also observed to have higher death rates, coronary artery disease and heart disease than those in the control group. Replacing saturated fats with vegetable oils does not therefore reduce heart diseases. Deeper research needs to be conducted on the relationship between canola oil and the heart.
There are a lot of findings in canola oil research. Most of them are inconsistent and conflicting. For some studies, it is linked to improved health while many others link it to inflammation and negative impacts on the memory and heart. This calls for a better-quality studies to be conducted. Until then, many people find it best to use other oils that have already been proven to be healthy.