Canola oil, friend or foe? Regardless of what you may have heard from social media influencers, this Canadian-born oil is not necessarily a nutritional superfood. Claims of its adverse health effects (such as causing heart disease, inducing insulin resistance, and increasing inflammation) are mostly driven by animal research, rather than human research. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and the American Heart Association, canola oil is not only safe to use, but is also classified as “better for you” because of its low saturated fat. matter.
That said, canola oil is not a perfect pantry staple. As with any highly processed food, there are some downsides that are worth discussing. Here they are five reasons why this fat is best eaten in moderation. And don’t miss our definitive ranking of the best oils to cook with!
It can get messy faster than you think.
Canola oil begins its life in the seeds of rapeseed plants. To extract the oil from the tiny seeds, manufacturers use heat and a solvent called hexane. Despite its chemical-sounding name, hexane itself is not dangerous. Instead, the application of heat and hexane can affect the stability of canola oil molecules, causing the oil to rapidly turn rancid—and even destroy healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
To get the most shelf life from your bottle, keep it in a cool, dark place – not near the stove! And watch for signs that your oil has turned. An “off” smell, color changes, or visible mold are good reasons to throw it away.
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You could overdo it on omega-6 fatty acids.
You are probably familiar with the benefits of the treasure of the fat universe, omega-3s. But you may have heard some shade thrown by their neighbor down the chemical chain, omega-6 fatty acids. Canola oil contains both omega-3 and omega-6s in a 2:1 ratio.
Believe it or not, omega-6s perform many helpful functions in the body, such as maintaining bone health and stimulating hair growth. But if there are too many of them, especially in an excessive ratio of 6’s to 3’s, there could be trouble for the health.
Some research has linked an unbalanced combination of the two fats to issues such as autoimmune disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Canola oil’s 2:1 ratio isn’t terrible (estimates for the ideal range from 4:1 to 1:1), but adding it to a diet or Western diet that’s already heavy in omega-6 can cause complications. as a result.
You could increase your risk of chronic diseases.
To get from plant to bottle, canola oil goes through a complex series of steps including seed cleaning, conditioning, cooking, pressing, extraction, and desalination, to name a new one. Holy canol-y, that’s a lot of processing! However, almost all seedsmen go through a similar process, so we can’t point the finger at the middle only.
As you probably know, eating lots of processed foods is bad news for your health. Research shows that diets high in “ultra-processed” foods – those that go through multiple stages of physical, biological and/or chemical change – can lead to more issues like cancer and heart disease. Canola oil by itself will not cause these diseases but as part of a big picture processed diet it may cause problems.
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You won’t rack up enough nutrients.
Canola oil adds richness to salad dressings and helps veggies crisp up during cooking, but it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of nutrients. All its calories (about 120 per tablespoon) come from fat. And while some oils, like olive and avocado, have a variety of micronutrients and antioxidants, canola oil contains significant amounts of two: vitamin E and vitamin K.
On the other hand, there is a silver lining: the body needs a fat source to absorb vitamins E and K, so canola oil is a built-in vehicle for the nutrients it contains.
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You may be using it to make less than healthy foods.
The side effects of cooking with canola may be more about what you are cooking with. Because of its high smoke point, canola often serves as the base for deep-fried foods such as pulled pork, hush puppies, and French fries. Baked goods are another popular medium for canola’s smoothness and mild flavor. As delicious as these dishes are, they are not always the healthiest options. If you only reach for canola for baking and frying, you could be inadvertently derailing your health goals.