Canola oil is a popular cooking fat, high in monounsaturated fats (known as monos or MUFAs), which are heart healthy and a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet.
Canola oil, which comes from a rapeseed plant, was first created in the early 1970s in Canada and was originally known as rapeseed oil.
In 1995, Monsanto created a genetically modified version of rapeseed oil and renamed it Canola to avoid the negative association with the word rapeseed.
The genetic modification was originally done to replace a type of fatty acid in the rapeseed plant called erucic acid, which has been shown to have damaging effects on the hearts of test animals. So they replaced it with oleic acid, the monounsaturated fat found in olive oil.
So what’s the problem?
Aside from the fact that over 90% of the canola oil in this country comes from GMO crops, of just as much concern are the methods used to create the oil before it reaches your supermarket shelf.
You can see this in action by viewing this video. Ironically, it is NOT meant to discredit canola oil, but is from a science show called “How It’s Made” that explains/shows exactly how things are made.
Subjecting oil to high temps and chemicals is done in order stabilize the fat and extend its shelf life. FYI, most vegetable oils such as corn oil, safflower oil, and soybean oil all go through an intense chemical and refining process much like this, rendering a product that is inflammatory and damaging to our health.
Not to mention they are also high in the omega 6 fats, which when eaten in excess also create inflammation. For those reasons, we encourage our clients to reduce or avoid these oils as much as possible, which are also found lurking in most baked goods and processed foods (just check your labels and look at the ingredients lists and you will see them everywhere).
As with most things, we are partial to fats that have not been blasted with heat or washed with chemicals, but in their more natural state. These include olive oil, avocado oil, or small amounts of coconut oil, or ghee. Other good options include walnut oil, flaxseed oil, macadamia oil, and small amounts of unrefined sesame oil. Be sure to look for labels that state unrefined and/or cold pressed (meaning no chemicals or high heat used). Oh and if you tolerate dairy, we like grass fed butter.
If you struggle with or are confused about how to make diet changes, a great place to start is by following the guidelines in our PM Meal Mastery program. For less than the cost of a bag of groceries, you can have access to this amazing resource that provides a scientifically-backed nutrition plan for optimal health, energy, and confidence after menopause.