Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Canola Oil, the scary story

I just found out that the rapeseed harvest will top over 15 billion dollars this year. And that is just the US and Canadian harvest.  China harvests nearly 3 times that amount.  That seems like a lot to me, and the reality is that, it is a lot.  This is a product that has proven toxicity.  With the Canola Council of Canada continuing to spout the health benefits for this product it just seems that very few scientists and institutions are doing much research into the reality of the product.  What is out there on the internet is usually a bunch of hyperbole and rhetoric, very little actual info.  However there are a few scientific sites that have some disturbing information.  Very frightening actually.  Erucic acid is the toxic component of rapeseed.  In the 70's and 80's Canadian scientists were able to selectively breed rape plants to have an erucic acid content of less than 2%.  In actuality, that is a tremendous achievement.  But it still doesn't make the stuff safe for human consumption.  Erucic acid destroys the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells in the brain.  It is also proven to cause Lipidosis in rats.  No one has done any research on larger mammals.  Let's face it, who would fund a research project that would ultimately prove that an annual 15 billion dollar product will give you a long slow death if you eat it.  That erucic acid is the stuff that has been linked to Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis and similar degenerative conditions found in pigs, sheep, lambs and poultry that were fed canola meal.  This is the stuff leftover after they remove the oil.  If that sounds familiar, it should be, it is mad cow disease.  You rarely hear about it anymore because processors found that if they bake the meal with sodium hydroxide and ammonium bicarbonate then that effectively neutralizes the effects of the erucic acid.  It doesn't break it down, it keeps the animals it is fed to from absorbing it. 
One of the other things that I have found is that the claim that Canola is better for your heart because of the mix of unsat, polyunsat, and saturated fats.  Most of the research material that I have read always differ in composition from the standard propaganda disseminated from the Canola Council.  In her book "Nourishing Traditions" author Sally Fallon suggests that the differences are because they use raw unrefined rapeseed oil to test.  After the stuff is heat treated to deodorize it and purified with hexane and steam distilled, then the good omega-3 fats are transformed into trans-fatty acids.  So who do you believe?  The industry making 15 billion dollars a year, or some small lab doing chemical analysis?  Well, I can't make your decision for you, but I look at every label on anything I buy or eat.  If it contains canola, I put it back on the shelf.  When in a restaurant, I ask what they use.  If they use canola, I get a salad, with balsamic vinegar.  Unless they make their own dressings with olive oil.  With all the crap that is in our food supply today, and with the numbers of GM foods, toxic additives, and increasing amounts of pesticide and herbicide residues being allowed on our foods, I don't want to take the risk of ingesting one more easily avoidable toxin in my diet.  If EVERY person in the US took a stand and refused to eat the poison our food products that big agribusiness wants us to consume, then they just might take the hint and make real food again. 

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