By Dr. Bruce Fife

If you go to the grocery store you will see all types of foods proudly proclaiming they are made with canola oil. You see it in every type of food imaginable from frozen dinners to cookies and crackers. You can even buy it by the bottle.

CANOLA OILanola oil has gained a reputation a one of the "good" fats because it is primarily a monounsaturated fat, like olive oil, which is regard as one of the healthiest of all the fats. Many people claim canola oil is even better than olive oil because, next to flaxseed oil, it contains the highest amount of omega-3 fats. Omega-3s are believed to help prevent heart disease. Olive oil contains no omega-3 fats. Because of this, canola oil has received a great deal of recognition as the "premiere" monounsaturated fat and is highly promoted as health food by food producers. But how good is it really?

Food produces have learned from years of experience that if they present a poor quality food as healthy, it will become a best seller. That is the situation with canola oil. The truth is that canola oil is not a healthy oil. In fact, it is one of the unhealthiest oils you could ever eat and you should avoid anything and everything that contains it. Let me tell you why.

Canola oil is not a natural oil. It is a man-made oil never before seen in nature until a few years ago thanks to the wonders of modern chemistry. There is no such thing as a canola plant or a canola seed. Canola oil comes from hybridized, genetically modified rapeseed plants. The oil from natural rapeseed contains a highly toxic substance known as erucic acid and is illegal to sell for human consumption. Erucic acid is highly toxic to the heart and promotes heart failure. Rapeseed that is genetically modified to produce oil that contains a lower amount of erucic acid is called canola oil. Although most of the erucic acid has been removed, canola oil still contains about 1% of this heart-destroying toxin. Why would you want to eat an oil that contains harmful toxins?

One of the supposed benefits of canola oil is its high omega-3 content (10%). This benefit, however, is another reason why you shouldn't eat it. Omega-3 fats are very delicate and highly sensitive to heat. That's why you never heat flaxseed oil. The same is true with canola oil. It should never be heated because when omega-3s are heated they quickly oxidize (become rancid) and produce cell-destroying molecules known as free radicals. Canola oil is processed under high temperatures (over 300 degrees). This causes the polyunsaturated oils in it to transform into toxic trans fatty acids and the omega-3s to oxidize and become free radicals. All the beneficial omega-3s in the oil have been destroyed and turned into harmful substances.

You should never use canola oil in any type of cooking, even low temperature cooking because it creates trans fatty acids and free radicals both of which are very harmful to the body. Ironically, most the food products sold that contain canola oil are cooked or require cooking at home.

Don't be fooled by food company propaganda regarding canola oil. It's one food that isn't fit to eat.

Dr. Bruce Fife is a certified nutritionist and Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. He has written 18 books and serves as the publisher of Piccadilly Books/Health Wise Publications.

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