Canola oil is marketed as a healthy alternative to olive oil. This is a huge con. (Maybe it should be called “Conola?”) The only thing that olive oil and canola oil have in common is that they are both monounsaturated oils.
Let’s start with the ultimate in oil, olive oil. Olive oil comes from olives. Processing olive oil goes like this:
Olives are harvested, then pressed and bottled.
Canola oil? A very different story. To start with, there is no such thing as a canola. Canola oil is an oil derived from the rapeseed plant, a member of the mustard family. The rapeseed is genetically engineered, originally by Canadian plant breeders. Hence the name, Canola. (Can-Canada, ola – oil) Marketing an oil called rapeseed might have been dicey.
Making up a pleasant name is only the beginning of the convoluted process of manufacturing canola oil. First, the genetically modified rapeseed plant goes through a procedure of a combination of high-temperature mechanical pressing and extraction by chemical solvents. That solvent is usually hexane. Traces of this solvent often remain, even after extensive refining. After extraction and refining, the oil is bleached, deodorized, and degummed at very high temperatures. Processing oils at such high temperatures can alter the omega-3 content in the oil which can change the trans fat levels.
Although Canola oil is highly processed, the availability of this engineered plant is plentiful. Hence, it can be mass-produced at a cost much lower than olive oil. I do not have a problem with this as people have a choice as to which oils to consume. Personally, I always choose quality over quantity. What irks me considerably is that canola oil is marketed as an equal twin to olive oil. I believe the public is being misled to believe that Canola oil is just as good as olive oil. This is simply not so.
The myriad health benefits of olive oil are documented in hundreds of scientific studies.
Olive oil has been around for centuries. Canola oil only for years. Personally, I do not want to be part of the Canola oil experiment.
Even my favorite health food stores are carrying products made largely with canola oil… products which were previously made with olive oil. It is becoming difficult to find a good salad dressing made with pure, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil. Maddeningly … many labels read: “May contain olive oil or Canola oil.” Don’t we have a right to know which?
Even the FDA must have a clue that something is amiss with canola oil as it is forbidden for use in infant formula.
If you are interested in reading more, I wrote the following article for Natural News: