The science behind canola, vegetable oils
Why are some health-conscious people rejecting canola and other genetically-modified oil? Is there real science behind the counter-canola craze, or is it just another dieting fad?
According to Harvard expert Guy Crosby, soybean, canola, palm, and corn oil are the top four vegetable oils consumed in the United States. These oils are referred to as refined, bleached, deodorized oils (“RBD”), which describes the process by which they are manufactured — and they aren’t just in your curly fries. They’re in everything from bread, to pre-cooked chicken, as well as desserts and snacks. Even many avowed health products, like protein powder, are produced with one or more of these oils.
In the 50 years since canola oil was invented by Canadian scientists by genetically modifying the rapeseed plant to be edible by human beings, the product has been touted for its health benefits. This is due to its low saturated fat content. Saturated fats are what most nutritionists consider the “bad fats,” because they have been shown to increase overall cholesterol levels, especially LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the bad cholesterol. While naturally-occurring fats like butter contain 7.2 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon, canola boasts a mere 1.7 grams. For this reason, among others, many manufacturers who hadn’t already switched to canola and other GMO — genetically modified organism — oils had good reason to in 1990, when the FDA required nutrition labels on all packaged and sold food. With it’s low percentage of saturated fats, canola oil appeared to be healthier.
Yet canola and other genetically-produced oils have been connected to long-term ailments which the FDA-approved label doesn’t show, according to some nutritionists.
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