THE BATTLE OVER CANOLA OIL

Posted: February 6, 2014 in Food, frying
Tags: , , ,

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There is a huge battle going on about the safety of canola oil. The majority of canola oil is made with genetically modified seeds, so if you’re trying to avoid GMO’s in your family’s diet, you have 2 choices: stop using canola oil or buy non-GMO canola oil. Until a few hours ago, I didn’t know the latter even existed.

Canola gets its name from “Canada” and ‘Oil.” There is no “canola plant.” There is, however, something called rapeseed, which canola oil comes from. The “rape” comes from the latin “rapum,” which means “turnip,” but you can see how something called rapeseed oil wouldn’t work with the general public. So: Canola it became.

Rapeseed plants have been grown for thousands of years, not for edible oils, but for lamp oils and lubricants. The presence of erucic acid, some nasty stuff that nobody really wants to eat, made it unsafe for human consumption. But rapeseed oil was in high demand during World War II for its industrial applications. After the war, the demand for rapeseed oil diminished, and it was only in the 1970’s that scientists were able to wean out the erucic acid out of rapeseed to make canola. (This was done without genetically modifying the plant. That technology did not exist yet.)

It was in 1998 that the GMO was born when scientists developed a strain of rapeseed that could withstand herbicides, which is what about 85% of canola is made from today. Personally, I don’t want to eat any plant that can withstand (and certainly absorb) gallons of herbicides or pesticides. No thanks, Monsanto.

So what about the other oils out there? If you’re staying away from canola oil because of GMO’s, I’ve got news for you: you need to stay away from so-called vegetable oil (which is soybean oil), corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and even peanut oil. 

The best oils to cook with: olive oil, avocado oil, and unrefined coconut oil. There are such things as good fats, and these oils have them.

As for non-GMO canola oil? I’m a bit skeptical, but I’m willing to give it a chance. After all, I still need my occasional fried food fix once in a while.

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