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What Is Canola Oil

Updated on June 1, 2012

What Is Canola Oil

In search for the healthiest oils around I already had coconut oil at the top of my list because of its diversity in usage #mce_temp_url#. I was curious as to what other oils would bring about health benefits and stumbled across an article citing canola oil as the healthiest oil around. My first thought was "around what?"

Canola oil seems to be the first selection for many people looking for something healthy to cook with, but it begs the question, what is canola oil and what makes it healthy? Before we go there, let's look at a few other oils. Olive oil is extracted from olives, avocado oil is extracted from avocados, coconut oil is extracted from coconuts, etc. So you take those oils and they all have the same thing in common, they come from the food they're named after.

When it comes to canola oil, one assumes it comes from the canola plant, but this begs the question "what the heck is canola?" In all my trips to grocery stores, produce markets, etc. I've seen spinach, mixed greens, lettuce, watercress, and many other salad combinations. I've never seen a canola salad or seed and one key rule to healthy oils is that the plants they come from have to be healthy.

What Is Canola Oil?

Canola oil comes from the canola plant, which is a modification of the rape plant. Canola oil came on the scene as a healthier oil than all the rest. One of the most attractive attributes for consumers is how low it is in saturated fat. Since we've created this culture of saturated fat meaning bad fat, people seem to be interested in anything low in saturated fat, without paying attention to what it really is.

Most people don't pay much attention to what canola really is and see the beautiful flowers on the bottle, which allow them to be suckered into purchasing something that isn't truly edible, as a healthy alternative for themselves and their families. Rapeseed oil has been mainly used for industrial purposes and rarely for kitchen cuisine, because of it's toxicity and high euric acid content.

Rapeseed was cultivated in such a way to greatly reduce the euric acid levels and became marketed as low euric acid rapeseed or LEAR oil. To make the name more appealing, the name canola was used which is essentially an acronym for CANadian Oil Low Acid. Canola oil is heavily marketed as a heart-healthy option and consumers are given incomplete information as to where it comes from. There's no real canola plant, it's just a hybrid of the rape plant and is in no way healthy or even edible.

What Is Canola Oil?

Maybe you've been using canola oil in your household for years as a "heart-healthy" option. I have seen canola oil promoted heavily through organizations such as the American Heart Association. In fact the AHA uses the "better-fat sisters" to analyze healthy fats, telling people to cook with vegetable oils such as canola oil and warning people to stay away from the "bad-fat brothers" saturated and trans.

Beyond the fact that canola oil offers no nutritional value and the fact that it shouldn't be used in foods is the fact that any dangers of it once cooked, skyrocket. Canola is possibly the most dangerous oil to cook with. To take a trip back to 2ND grade Science class, there are physical and chemical changes. A physical change would take place if I froze water into ice, because it would still be water, just frozen. During cooking, this so-called healthy oil is turned into dangerous trans-fat. With all the processing that canola oil undergoes prior to being sold, one should assume that canola oil already contains trans-fats.

How Is Canola Oil Made?

To illustrate how canola oil is produced, I've attempted to break down the "how it's made" video.

Step 1

Rape seeds are cleaned of foreign material and pass by a magnet that removes any metal that's fallen in.

Step 2

The seeds pass through 2 rollers that press them into flakes

Step 3

The flakes pass through a screw press that squeezes out most of the oil with high pressure

Step 4

The rest of the oil is in what are called canola cakes and is put into a 70 minute wash with an unknown solvent to extract the remaining oil

Step 5

The oil is washed in sodium hydroxide for 20 minutes and spun at high speeds to separate impurities.

Step 6

The now visibly lighter oil still contains waxes and is then cooled to thicken the waxes so they can be removed

Step 7

The oil is bleached to lighten the color, then use a steam injection heating process to remove the odor.

The end product is no healthier than motor oil that goes through the same process. Though there are other processes used in making canola oil, at the end of the day, it is still the same product be it cold-pressed, non-gmo, etc.

One of the main reasons for the heavy marketing of canola oil possibly falls into the fact that through processing canola (rape) seed; factories make cattle feed, animal feed, shortening, and soap additives. Canola=big profit.

I have to admit, the idea of rapeseed being used for so many things related to food consumption is pure genius, but the idea of it being healthy is a result of deceptive marketing which has plagued our health and in more ways than noticed.


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    • AHale48 profile image

      AHale48 5 years ago from Somewhere in California!

      Wow, that's great information to know. Thank you so much. I just might go back to vegetable oil. I always wondered what canola was. We really need to pay attention to what we eat. Just because society says its healthy, doesn't always make it so.

    • hubcloud profile image

      hubcloud 5 years ago from India

      We always use Canola oil, but no idea where it comes from. Thanks for the hub.