The food industry and popular health authorities commonly claim that vegetable oils are safe for us to eat. They make particular claims for monounsaturated fats as being protective against heart disease. Monounsaturated fats include olive oil, macadamia nut oil, peanut oil, avocadoes, and canola oil.
It’s true, there are studies that suggest monounsaturated fats are beneficial to our health. However, most of the research I’ve come across that links the benefits of monounsaturated fats with reduced rates of heart disease, refer to olive oil, not canola oil.
As will soon become clear, not all types of monounsaturated fats are created equal. So today I’ll share a few facts about canola oil. Is it safe? And info on how it’s made, then you can decide for yourself.
Canola Oil. How It’s Made
Canola oil is processed from the canola seed which contains 45% oil. In order to make the oil accessible for consumtion it has to be extracted. The first extraction removes a large amount of the oil but not enough for the processing farm to reap full profits. So it is then put through a second extraction that includes a 70 minute wash using a solvent. Which solvent? I’m not sure.
The extracted oil is then stored in tanks while it waits to be put through the refining process. During the refining process, the oil is washed with sodium hydroxide in a spinning machine at very high speeds to separate impurities. Sodium hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. Sodium hydroxide is used in many chemical processes including in the making of paper, cleaning products, drain cleaner, soaps and detergents. Paint strippers also contain high levels of sodium hydroxide. Definitely rasies an eyebrow doesn’t it?
But even after this first refining process the oil still contains wax so it is then cooled down so it thickens and the wax can be filtered out. Once this process is done the oil then gets bleached to lighten it’s colour and then undergoes a steaming injection process to remove the odour?!
Finally after going through all of those six questionable processes, your oil is ready to be eaten.
Here’s a video that talks through the process.
So is canola oil safe?
Well, it’s just my opinion but I would say no. Personally I don’t go anywhere near canola oil but stick to olive oil because I know it has proven health benefits.
You may ask ‘so why is it on the shelf?’
I’d also ask the same question!
The important thing to know is that there are many questionable items on the supermarket shelf. There are many questionable practices in the ‘food industry’, so it’s best to educate ourselves so we can make informed decisions about what we eat.
What do you think after reading this article?