Six Dangers of Using Canola Oil
Canola oil is a hot topic. Some view it as healthy, while others consider it harmful. When two viewpoints are so varied, it can be confusing at best. Some feel it is healthy because of the amount of omega-3s it contains. The other side argues that it’s harmful and it acts as a toxin with horrible side effects. Canola oil is a genetically modified product designed to be cheap to manufacture. It is also used in many processed and pre-packaged foods. In its original form, the oil is extracted from the rapeseed plant. Later genetic modifications created what we now know as canola oil. The oil from wild rapeseed caused many health problems due to a high content of erucic acid. Canola oil was originally known as LEAR which stood for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed. The name was changed to Canola Oil. Canada and “ola” were combined to form the new name. The intent was to identify Canada as its origin and “ola” meaning oil.
Two Reasons Canola Oil is Bad for Consumption
In its original state, canola oil was a healthy alternative. However, the form we have today is harmful in two ways:
- More than 90% of all canola oil is genetically modified.
- As a refined oil, it is partially hydrogenated. This has negative health effects.
Although it has not yet been confirmed with long-term studies, it is believed that genetically modified canola oil causes kidney, neurological, and liver health problems. This is a reasonable possibility since other reports indicate GMO products like soy and corn have negative effects on your health.
Specific Dangers of Canola Oil
Problems with the Kidney and Liver
Several studies have indicated genetically modified foods result in liver and kidney problems. These two organs are responsible for ingesting GMO foods. They seem to bear the brunt of consuming them.
Serious Heart Problems
Rapeseed contains large amounts of erucic acid. This fatty acid causes heart damage according to many experts. It specifically has been shown to cause Keshan disease. This disease causes fibrotic lesions in the heart. Studies demonstrated in regions where people are susceptible to Keshan, there are lower levels of selenium and higher amounts of erucic acid. Also, vegetable oils like canola oil that are partially hydrogenated, increase risk factors for heart disease. These oils cause inflammation and calcification of the arteries which are both linked to heart problems.
Strokes and High Blood Pressure
So far, animal studies have concluded that canola oil affects blood coagulation time. The time it takes blood to clot is important when discussing the possibility of strokes. Animals limited to canola oil as a single source of fat had high blood pressure and were prone to stroke. These animals also died earlier than the ones who were not fed canola oil as the only fat source.
Retards Normal Growth
The government banned canola oil from use in infant formula. The primary concern was its effect on stunting children’s growth. Infant livers cannot handle the breaking down of erucic acid. Originally banned in infant formula by the FDA, it was recently added back to the safe list. The concern heightened over feeding infants genetically modified foods as well as unhealthy fats. Long-term studies do not exist to determine the safety of this practice.
Increases the Consumption of Unhealthy Fats
One study evaluated soybeans and canola oils in the US. The trans fat content was between 0.56 and 4.2 percent of the fatty acids. After undergoing hydrogenation, canola oil turns into partially hydrogenated oil. This means an increase in trans fats. Since trans fats lower HDL cholesterol and increase LDL cholesterol, they should be avoided. Trans fatty acids are byproducts of processing foods and are hazardous health-wise.
A Possibility of Numerous Side Effects
The dangers of health hazards reach beyond liver and kidney problems. The Center for Food Safety published a list of serious health concerns they have with genetically engineered foods. Scientific research backs these concerns. They include things like loss of nutritional value, suppressing immune responses, allergic reactions, and toxicity.