5 Reasons Why I Can’tola When it Comes to Canola Oil

November 14, 2018

By Anna Varriano

This month, I’m sharing a video that shows how canola oil is made and why I avoid it. Before you scroll down to watch the video, please read this article in its entirety – including some info I’ve included after the video with a link to a resource that will help you to stop being fooled by manufacturer’s big fat lies. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the lies and confusion surrounding the topic of fat … but there is still so much of it swirling around, I feel it is important to revisit it; this time, perhaps from a slightly different perspective. focusing on a particular oil that so many people are still using because it is often touted as being so very healthy for us – canola oil.

Canola is often marketed as one of the healthiest oils you can use in salad dressings, baking, and virtually all of your food prepping and meal cooking; in fact, it is often said to be heart healthy thanks to being rich in heart-healthy oleic acids and also containing inflammation-busting omega-3 fatty acids. Well, that’s the canola industry’s story anyway.

Despite these claims, I do my best to avoid canola oil – and many other ‘popular’ vegetable oils. Here are a few reasons why I can’t-ola when it comes to canola.

1 – Its History

The canola plant originated from rapeseed which is known to have a high erucic acid content. Natural forms of rapeseed contain high levels of erucic acid (it makes up over 40% of the seeds total fatty acids). At high levels, erucic acid had been associated with a disease characterized by fibrotic lesions in the heart. I often wonder if ingesting smaller amounts of erucic acid over your lifetime would be any better, or just accumulate and cause problems to occur at some point? Especially when exposure can start at birth through infant formula (since some contain canola oil).


Stories have been passed on to me through a few generations that rapeseed oil was traditionally used in the maintenance of heavy farm equipment, but since it grew so well in Canada; in fact, the stories I’ve heard were that farmers didn’t even have to spray rapeseed crops because insects and animals tended to stay away from it (smart cookies those animals!), the powers that be wanted to do more with it. When early discussion exploring the use of rapeseed in the production of oils for the consumer food industry, it was also noted that it would have to be genetically manipulated to have a lower erucic acid level that would be ‘safe’ for human consumption. The lower erucic acid version was created, and named LEAR oil for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed oil.  Since ‘rape’ or ‘lear’ don’t have very positive connotations, the name of this new LEAR oil was changed to Canola, for Canadian oil.

2 – How It’s Grown

It is estimated that 95% of canola crops grown in Canada are genetically modified, therefore the crops are sprayed with RoundUp Ready. RoundUp is the pesticide developed my Monsanto, and the active ingredient is glyphosphate. There’s been lots in the news recently about how unsafe levels of glyphosphate are being found in children’s cereals and cereal bars because of the heavy use of RoundUp on the crops/ingredients used to make those products. The focus of these news reports has been on childrens’ cereals containing oats … but it could just as easily have been on products containing canola oils which is used in sooooo many packaged, processed, canned foods and condiments … and used in restaurants for cooking.


3 – Canola Promoters are Ignoring the Research

For over a decade now, research has been busting current mainstream recommendations regarding eating fats, which are based on poorly done research dating back to the early 1950s. In 2012, the results of a large meta-analysis were published in British Medical Journal, a highly respected international peer reviewed medical journal. The objective of this study was to “evaluate the effectiveness of replacing dietary saturated fat with omega 6 linoleic acid, for the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death.”

In everyday language, the study was trying to see what would happen to coronary heart disease rates and death rates if people replaced saturated fats (from foods like butter, egg yolk, whole fat dairy, cheese, meat, and coconut oil) with foods and/or oils high in omega 6 linoleic acids/polyunsaturated fats  (like canola oil. corn oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, and soy oil … to name a few).

The researchers’ conclusions were as follows:

My non-techy translation? You know how you were told for 70 years or so to avoid saturated fats like those found in butter and eggs and to switch to margarine, refined vegetables oils, and processed egg whites in cartons in an attempt to lower rates of death from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease? Seems we were wrong and that some research is showing it actually increased the risk of these two outcomes … oh and death from all causes actually.” 

I also just read recently read an article referring to some animal research linking canola oil to Alzheimer’s complications. Here is an interesting statement from the leading author of that research paper:

Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy,” Praticò said. “Based on the evidence from this study, canola oil should not be thought of as being equivalent to oils with proven health benefits.

4 – Both my Nonnas Made Butter … And Even Olive Oil … Not Canola Oil

My nonnas, my mom, me, and my daughters have all made butter with just one ingredient, and two pieces of ‘equipment’. The ingredient was cream, and the pieces of equipment were a glass jar and our muscle power. Delicious butter … every time. My nonna also used to press olives from her farm to make olive oil. In both cases, no heavy machinery, genetically altered ingredients, hexane, lye, or bleach was required … which brings me to the fifth reason I avoid canola oil.

5 – How it’s Processed

Like many refined oils on the grocery store shelf, high temperatures and pressure are used to extract the oil from the plant. High temperatures and pressures are known to denature oils, in particular the delicate omega-3 oils that canola so proudly says it contains. In addition, numerous chemicals and solvents, for example lye, hexanes, bleaches, and deodorants (perhaps to hide the fact that the oil is already rancid when it’s being bottled do to the processing methods? Just a though ….), are used to give the oil is characteristic smell, colour, and taste. How much of anything good can be left by now? By they way, I’m pretty sure the processing is the same in the production of ‘organic’ canola oil.  BTW – consuming rancid oils causes health-destroying oxidation in the body. Oxidation is the cellular basis of virtually every disease.

Not convinced yet? Sometimes seeing is believing, so here’s a a video Ii found showing how ‘healthy’ canola oil is made. Once you’ve finished watching it, keep reading as I’m going to suggest a way that you can break through a lot more big fat lies …


Want to Break Through The Big Fat Lies?

Fats and oils are one of the most important parts of health and unfortunately one of the most contradictory. Here are questions I get asked ALL the time:

  • Should fats be avoided? If so, why and which ones?
  • Is margarine better than butter?
  • Will eating eggs and beef raise my cholesterol?
  • Is canola oil better than olive oil?
  • What’s the healthiest oil to cook with?
  • Should I be avoiding fat to lose weight, or is it true that some fats promote weight loss?
  • How can a product with a zero trans fat claim actually contain trans fats?
  • Why are omega-3 fats so important and why are most of us deficient in them?

Do you know the ‘real’ answers to the above questions? Being misinformed can be hazardous to your health, potentially increasing your risk of weight gain, heart disease, and numerous other health issues.

You can now get all the answers to the above questions and more through my pre-recorded webinar ‘The Skinny on Fats’. Click here to learn how you can own it for just $20. Take control of what you can!


Erucici acid a possible health risk for highly exposed children; European Food Safety Authority; Nov 9 2016


The Great Con-ola


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