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“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull
Canola is a seed type, the rapeseed, that is inedible to humans. However, it grows well in relatively cold climes. Canola stands for CANadian OiL. Even with the genetic variation, the oil must be highly processed to make it pure and palatable. Follow the money!
It is probably the worst of the grain based oils for us.
Compare to, say, olive oil. Squeeze. Eat.
Along with the whole lipid hypothesis, someday we will wake up from this canola oil hangover and wonder what the hell were we thinking?
Matt, I'm not sure if you are joking or not getting "it."
Poly u's do NOT do as the experts claim. Why do they claim these things? Because someone else said it. It's what sociologists call "cascading." Things take on a life of their own.
Blood serum cholesterol, despite the hype and billions of tests done in the last few decades has almost NO predictive ability of pending heart disease issues. What is, as "they" are just starting to learn, is triglyceride levels.
And what kind of diet, pray tell, do you think lowers triglyceride levels? Ten, nine, eight.....
I just noticed last night that Cordain is a big promoter of canola in the paleo diet book. He lists it as the second best oil behind flaxseed oil, primarily due to the Omega 3: Omega 6 ratio. Clarence Bass (70 year old bodybuilder) is also big on canola. Neither one of these guys are big promoters of conventional wisdom, though both seem to have some concerns about dietary fats.
Crystal, as Conan mentions, it does have a good omega ratio, so there is some benefit.
I'd rather get mine from fish or capsules and leave all the bad things about canola behind.
As to flax seed oil, well, can you do anything with it other than take a spoonful for omegas? And it's not all that great even there. Very little of the precursor gets converted to real Omega 3. Very unstable, needs refrigeration, exensive for bulk use.
I think Cordain may be overly focused on omega ratios. It looks like that is pretty much the only factor he takes into account when rating oils and nuts. He lists walnuts as the best nut and almonds almost dead last.
Canola actually stands for 'Canadian Oil, Low Acid', the acid in question being the Omega-9 erucic acid. Erucic acid is a big component of rapeseed oil and mustard seed oil (commonly used in most of India, one reason I think they have a huge heart disease epidemic). Erucic oil causes arterial lesions, etc.
Canola was created by a seed splitting technique to form a low erucic acid cultivar and instead make more oleic acid (the omega-9 in lard, olive oil, etc.). They also make a high erucic cultivar, because erucic acid is prized for its use in varnishes (mm, varnish).
So, basically, canola is 21% linoleic acid (omega-6) and around 10% alpha linolenic acid. It's about 2:1 O6:O3, which some will tell you is fine (I'd rather have it be 1:1). However, that puts it at a total of 31% polyunsaturates, compared with a total of 8% for olive oil and 3% for coconut oil (and 10% for avocado oil). While it has a better ratio than those fats, the proportion of polyunsaturates in total is so large in canola that it's still bad for you. You don't want to get more than 4% of calories from omega 6 fats, and canola is an easy way to shoot past that threshold (I've seen estimates that Americans get around 25% of their calories from vegetable oil..if it were all canola, they'd have 5% from linoleic acid).
So, short story: canola is a frankenfood made from a seed whose oil was previously only used for its easily-oxidized erucic acid in varnishes. Stay the hell away from it.