So what about that other MUFA—Canola Oil?
I am not a fan of canola oil. Canola oil may be touted as a naturally healthy, Monounsaturated Fatty Acid (MUFA), but a canola seed was not created by Mother Nature– and therefore, not natural, in my book. Actually, Canola oil was “developed” by plant breeders, and is, in fact, the “offspring” of rapeseed.
Rapeseed, is a bitter tasting seed known to be high in, a questionably toxic acid, otherwise known as, erucic acid. It has received quite a great deal of negative press over the years, and the plant breeders of Canola (which is actually a play on the words: Canada and Oil– where the seeds are bred), have gone to great lengths to market Canola seeds, as entirely different from their ancestors.
“It may look the same on the outside but it’s very different on the inside where it matters. Plant scientists used traditional plant breeding methods to get rid of rapeseed’s less nutritional qualities.” -CanolaInfo.com
Personally, I would prefer, that the oil I ingest, not be one that has been bred to be less toxic by plant scientists… but hey! That is just me… and if I have other choices, well I am going to opt for those first.
Aside from that, canola oil is far from being considered “raw”, or cold-pressed. It is often used in processed/packaged goods because processing Canola oil is both cheap, and the finished product lasts longer on the shelves (trust me folks… this is not a good thing). Shelf stable, often translates to– less fresh. Which means that it contains less nutrients (if any)… which then means that it will be more difficult for the body to break down.
Oh! and did I mention that this procedure is a lot cheaper than it would be to “first cold press” an oil… which makes it cheap to manufacture (and what manufacturer company wants to spend bigger bucks?)–which means it can be offered to consumers at a lower price, and still turn a big profit.
The Big Food Industry also loves to use canola oil because it is low in saturated fat—a major selling point in today’s society.
Additionally, it is often found in salad bars, where it is substituted in for cold-pressed olive oil. Why? Well, not to sound like a broken record here… but it is cheaper. Every smart company, grocers included, seeks to gain a profit (which is the idea…). Why would would they spend more money on a cold-pressed olive oil, when Canola oil will save them a couple of dimes, maybe quarters?
Salad bars are already priced high– about $7.99 a lb… so here you are, loading up your little to-go boxes, and already paying a pretty penny, for some sautéed veggies, and cous cous… but! There is a catch here, because the majority of the time you are not even getting the high-quality oils that you feel like you are paying for. I must say, I am always thoroughly disappointed when I see Canola oil listed on the ingredients of some of my favorite salad bar items. (But to their credit… maybe the grocers just don’t know).
Bargains are a great thing, but I’d advise not to cut corners when it comes to the type of fat you are feeding your body.
In summary, FAT can take on many different meanings to different people. A piece of bread smeared with margarine, is not the same as an avocado, is not the same as raw coconut ice cream, is not the same as a handful of nuts, is not the same as a cold-pressed almond/avocado/olive oil.
In order to nourish your body, and avoid having to stress over gaining weight, or having high cholesterol, heart disease, etc., focus on high-quality, raw fats (first-cold pressed oils*, avocados, raw almonds, young thai coconuts, etc.). When a fat is heated, or processed, it becomes difficult for the body to process and use—thus, bring on the unwanted pounds. Raw fats are different, and when properly combined, they nourish the body with little effort.
Next time you want to enjoy something creamy, without having to scrutinize over the good, the bad, and the ugly, smear a ripe avocado over a sprouted whole-wheat bagel, or toast, instead of butter, margarine, or cream cheese. You will notice the difference in the way your body digests, and feels.
How do you feel about Canola Oil? What is your favorite way to dress a salad, or add creamy texture to a meal?
*I do not think I have seen a First-Cold pressed Canola Oil, and I do not consider Canola Oil to be high-quality. That being said, a little bit here and there, is not going to kill you… but I highly suggest using alternative oils whenever possible.