Is Canola Oil dangerous?

Ahhh, I love it when I receive a chain e-mail full of misinformation, fallacious arguments and fear mongering. It’s like the universe is calling out to me to unleash my sceptical sword and sever the head from the raving beast. In the last few weeks I have received the following email on the dangers of canola oil from at least four different people. I have had requests via Facebook to look into these claims and a while ago my dad even phoned me to ask about the claims contained in the exact same e-mail.

As the good go-to sceptic that I am I will happily dig as deeply into the Canola Oil Conundrum as I can. I can’t wait! This is the original text of the e-mail I received; all formatting has been left in its virgin state;

Dear friends

RE: CANOLA OIL

I recently sent this letter to Fair Lady magazine in SA. But they haven’t published it, which I suspect may have something to do with the fact that Fair Lady runs ads for the product concerned.  I think it’s important that as many people as possible KNOW about the origins of this product.  Then, if you choose to buy it, at least you’re doing so with your eyes open.

Please forward this to the people in your address book. Email is the most powerful weapon in the world for free speech. I hope to receive this back in three months’ time, when it’s circled the globe.  I am very far from being a health freak.  But I believe that we have the right to know what we’re consuming.  In South Africa, it seems, our labelling laws are so lax that manufacturers do not have to give any info whatsoever. Hence my research. Hence my (so far unpublished) letter to Fair Lady.

Read on,

RAPE IN A DIFFERENT GUISE

Dear Editors

Recently I bought a cooking oil that’s new to our supermarkets, Canola Oil.

I tried it because the label assured me it was lowest in “bad” fats.  However, when I had used half the bottle, I concluded that the label told me surprisingly little else and I started to wonder:  where does canola oil come from? Olive oil comes from olives, peanut oil from peanuts, sunflower oil from sunflowers; but what is a canola? There was nothing on the label to enlighten me, which I thought odd.  So, I did some investigating on the Internet.

There are plenty of official Canola sites lauding this new “wonder” oil with all its low-fat health benefits. It takes a little longer to find sites that tell the less palatable details.  Here are just a few facts everyone should know before buying anything containing canola.  Canola is not the name of a natural plant but a made-up word, from the words “Canada” and “oil”.  Canola is a genetically engineered plant developed in Canada from the rapeseed plant, which is part of the mustard family of plants.

According to AgriAlternatives, the online innovation and technology magazine for farmers; “By nature, these rapeseed oils, which have long been used to produce oils for industrial purposes, are toxic to humans and other animals” (This, by the way, is one of the websites singing the praises of the new canola industry.)

Rapeseed oil is poisonous to living things and an excellent insect repellent.  I have been using it (in very diluted form, as per instructions) to kill the aphids on my roses for the last two years. It works very well; it suffocates them.  Ask for it at your nursery.  Rape is an oil that is used as a lubricant, fuel, soap and synthetic rubber base and as a illuminant for colour pages in magazines. It is an industrial oil. It is not a food.

Rape oil, it seems, causes emphysema, respiratory distress, anaemia, constipation, irritability and blindness in animals and humans.  Rape oil was widely used in animal feeds in England and Europe between 1986 and 1991, when it was thrown out.  Remember the “Mad Cow Disease” scare, when millions of unfortunate cattle in the UK were slaughtered in case of infecting humans?  Cattle were being fed on a mixture containing material from dead sheep, and sheep suffer from a disease called “scrapie”. It was thought this was how “Mad Cow” began and started to infiltrate the human chain.  What is interesting is that when rape oil was removed from animal feed, ‘scrapie’ disappeared. We also haven’t seen any further reports of “Mad Cow” since rape oil was removed from the feed.  Perhaps not scientifically proven, but interesting all the same.

US and Canadian farmers grow genetically engineered rapeseed and manufacturers use its oil (canola) in thousands of processed foods, with the blessings of Canadian and US government watchdog agencies.  The canola supporting websites say that canola is safe to use.  They admit it was developed from the rapeseed, but insist that through genetic engineering it is no longer rapeseed, but “canola” instead.  Except canola means “Canadian oil”; and the plant is still a rape plant, albeit genetically modified.

The new name provides perfect cover for commercial interests wanting to take billions.  Look at the ingredients list on labels. Apparently peanut oil is being replaced with rape oil. You’ll find it in an alarming number of processed foods. There’s more, but to conclude: rape oil was the source of the chemical warfare agent mustard gas, which was banned after blistering the lungs and skins of hundred of thousands of soldiers and civilians during W.W.I.  Recent French reports indicate that it was again in use during the Gulf War.  Check products for ingredients. If the label says, “may contain the following” and lists canola oil, you know it contains canola oil because it is the cheapest oil and the Canadian government subsidises it to industries involved in food processing. I don’t know what you’ll be cooking with tonight, but I’ll be using olive oil and old-fashioned butter, from a genetically unmodified cow.

Yours Sincerely

Say No to Canola

Athalie Russell

Research Finance Officer

Faculty of Health Sciences

University of Cape Town

Tel: (021) 406 6491

Fax: (021) 406 6390

Email: skalu@curie.uct.ac.za

I’m sure you know what I’m about to do, don’t you? That’s right; I’m going to demolish the ridiculous bollocks contained in this e-mail and provide you with the actual facts of the situation. Ooh, imagine that, interesting and accurate information – imagine the power!

One of the first things I do when I receive an e-mail which smells like an unfounded urban legend is look up the subject on snopes.com. Sure enough, Snopes has a fantastically detailed article on an almost identical e-mail which was circulated in the USA. If I may borrow from the masters of chain mail destruction;

What we have here is a bit of truth about a product’s family history worked into a hysterical screed against the product itself

Here is the overview of what the people over at Snopes found out about canola oil;

  • The Rape plant is a member of the Mustard family, together with its relatives the turnip, cabbage and horseradish plants (among others). Before you start picturing the devastation of a mustard gas in WWI, imagine delicious baby cabbage leaves in a salad with fresh baby tomatoes and sweet corn. See? Nothing terrifying about a plant which happens to be related to mustard.
  • Rapeseed oil has been used for cooking for centuries across Europe, the Near East and the Far East. However, as any sceptic knows, the fact that a product has been in use for a long time does not necessarily mean that it does not have an associated health risk. At high temperatures, unrefined cooking oil can give off chemicals which may cause lung cancer, and rapeseed oil is particularly notable for this. Therefore, if you plan on doing a lot of wok cooking with unrefined cooking oil OF ANY KIND, lower the temperature of the stove to 180 degrees.
  • Rapeseed oil was not used for human consumption in the USA before 1974 because it contains a high percentage (30-40%) of erucic acid which can cause heart lesions in lab animals.
  • In 1974 a variety of rapeseed oil with very low erucic acid content was introduced for consumption in Canada. By 1978 this new variety of rapeseed oil held less than 2% erucic acid and by 1990 the level of erucic acid was reduced to a range of between 0.5% and 1%. This reduction in the level of erucic acid was accomplished through cross-breeding and NOT through genetic engineering. Cross breeding is a common agricultural practice and is responsible for sweeter apples, larger fruit of all kinds and less spiky pineapples. And your pet poodle.
  • Rapeseed oil was re-christened “Canola Oil” in 1986 when the product was introduced to American consumers; this was done to distance the healthy oil from the negative connotations of the word “rape”. That’s right; canola oil is HEALTHY oil! It is lower in saturated fat than any other oil, it is second only to olive oil when levels of monounsaturated fats are counted and it contains Omega-3 fatty acids. Let’s put that into everyday terms, canola oil is very low in fat, it can contribute to a more balanced, and even a lower level, of cholesterol and triglycerides, and its Omega-3 may even contribute to brain growth and development.

Ok, so we have our facts straight about the health risks and benefits of canola oil, now’s the time to dismiss some of the lunacy in the chain e-mail itself. The very first thing I did when I got this e-mail was to try and contact Athalie Russell to confirm if she is in fact the author of the letter. Unsurprisingly I found that the telephone number and e-mail address listed in the letter do not exist. The fax number rings endlessly with no answer whatsoever. I have not contacted UCT to confirm if they have an Athalie Russell in their employ, but I figured that would not be necessary. If she does exist, her name has been hi-jacked to lend an air of authority to a chain letter. That brings me to the first fallacious argument I’d like to point out in this letter, the Appeal to Authority. Most people do not take the time to credential-check every e-mail they come across, so when they see “Faculty of Health Sciences” their brains say “OK, this e-mail must be true it was written by a doctor”. It doesn’t matter that Athalie apparently doesn’t exist and this letter was written by someone else entirely, your average Joe will forward it to everyone in their inbox because they care.

There is an important distinction to be made between an appeal to authority and an actual authority. If you are faced with any advertising where a person is standing in a white coat looking scholarly, and you are being told to buy a product because doctors / scientists say that you should, it’s an appeal to authority. Buy my hamburger disinfectant because this actor in a white lab coat says you should. Yeah, that’s not going to get my hard earned cash out of my wallet!

On the other hand, to accept the fact that the Earth orbits the sun in an elliptical orbit with a period of approximately 365 days, and that the sun is a massive broiling furnace of super-heated plasma, emitting enormous amounts of light and energy because your science textbook, the weight of evidence and the results of thousands of experiments confirm these claims is not a thinking error. It’s responsible and cautious to accept the consensus of the scientific establishment because that establishment has come to the aforementioned consensus through many years of hard work by many people. And any errors are corrected over time by the very nature of science.

My second major concern about this e-mail is that the author claims to have submitted it to a local magazine, she specifically says;

I recently sent this letter to Fair Lady magazine in SA. But they haven’t published it, which I suspect may have something to do with the fact that Fair Lady runs ads for the product concerned.

If I was truly concerned about the health of thousands of my fellow citizens, I would not address my concerns to a women’s interest magazine. If I truly wanted to effect some change I would write to the Advertising Standards Authority or the consumer protection agency. A letter in Fair Lady might cause a little bit of unhappiness in its readers, but it would not actually be of any benefit. The claim that the magazine had not yet printed this letter because of a conflict of interest does not address a far more obvious cause; this letter is a load off unsubstantiated bullshit. Careful application of Occams Razor to the problem would lead one to conclude that the suspicions of a fictitious letter writer should be discarded.

The letter writer then makes the mistake of asking the reader to send this load of crap on to his / her entire address book. What makes this a mistake? Because it is a dead give-away that this letter is spam and the claims are false. If the information in this letter were true, it would not be necessary for you to e-mail it to all of your aunties; they would most probably get the info through more reliable channels. The only way for this misinformation to penetrate the popular consciousness is for it to spread as widely as possible on unregulated pathways.

Lets look now at some of the factual claims made in the letter to see how deeply confused the author is;

Recently I bought a cooking oil that’s new to our supermarkets, Canola Oil.

Well, Canola oil was introduced to North American consumers in 1986 and since the e-mail I received is a blatant knock-off of one that originated in the USA, I think it is reasonable to conclude that this is not, in fact, a new product, but one which has been available for 24 years.

Olive oil comes from olives, peanut oil from peanuts, sunflower oil from sunflowers

Well, it comes from sunflower seeds actually, but now I’m just being pedantic. Perhaps I shouldn’t expect that level of accuracy from the author of a chain e-mail.

Canola is not the name of a natural plant but a made-up word, from the words “Canada” and “oil”.  Canola is a genetically engineered plant developed in Canada from the rapeseed plant, which is part of the mustard family of plants.

We already know that being a member of the mustard family is not necessarily a bad thing, and we have learned from Snopes that the rapeseed oil used for consumption is not genetically engineered but was produced through cross-breading. The two methods developing new strains of plants are distinct.

Rapeseed oil is poisonous to living things and an excellent insect repellent.  I have been using it (in very diluted form, as per instructions) to kill the aphids on my roses for the last two years. It works very well; it suffocates them.  Ask for it at your nursery.  Rape is an oil that is used as a lubricant, fuel, soap and synthetic rubber base and as a illuminant for colour pages in magazines. It is an industrial oil. It is not a food

There are a few errors in this paragraph which share a theme; stupidity. The rapeseed oil you may use to kill aphids is not the same as the canola oil you may use for cooking. The two oils are produced by genetically distinct plants. Unprocessed, pre-1974 rapeseed oil can be dangerous to your health if cooked at high temperatures. Post-1974 rapeseed (or canola if you prefer) oil is a different kind of oil. Its very chemistry has been changed. If you are stupid enough to use unprocessed pre-1974 rapeseed oil, or the version you might use to kill aphids, to cook your dinner in, you deserve what you get. Sorry, I can give you a healthy dose of scepticism, but I can’t cure you of being a dunce.

Yes, rapeseed oil was used as an industrial lubricant in the USA (remember, it was not restricted for human consumption in Europe and the East at this time), but that kind of rapeseed oil is NOT canola oil. And Yes! Oils suffocate insects, that doesn’t make them poisonous to humans. Let’s do a little experiment here, if you can, place a small amount of cooking oil in a bowl and drop a few insects into the bowl. Wait, and observe… Does the insect die? Do you die when you make fried eggs?

I will borrow from urbanlegends.about.com to address the claims about rapeseed oil fed to sheep causing Mad Cow disease;

The fact of the matter is that rapeseed meal, not the oil processed from it first, has been used as animal fodder for a long time – and still is to this day, even in England and Europe. Similarly, the facts behind what the missive claims about the rise and fall of Mad Cow disease are not borne out by science. Most scientists concur that Mad Cow disease developed when the animals were fed sheep offal that was contaminated with a virus-like disease known as Scrapie. There is absolutely no known link between sheep Scrapie disease and canola oil.

Let me repeat that; there is absolutely no known link between sheep Scrapie disease and canola oil. And we know the cause of Mad Cow disease; bovine spongiform encephalopathy, it’s a kind of prion disease which damages the neurons in the cows brain. That’s why they stumble about, they are losing motor control.

The e-mail’s author then makes me very angry when he says

Perhaps not scientifically proven, but interesting all the same.

EXCUSE ME, WHAT? How can he even say that? He is basically admitting that his claims are full of shit, but thinks that we should consider them because they are interesting! No. No. NO! He is pulling facts out of his butt-hole and expecting us to take them seriously because he thinks it’s “interesting”! That’s like accepting the claims of Intelligent Design because they are interesting; believing that life was created by an invisible wizard in the sky because it’s interesting! Never mind that there’s no evidence… Okay, deep breath…

Let us summarise, the author of this Canola Oil confabulation is a misinformed anti-scientist who has absolutely no understanding of the process involved in the creation of Canola Oil. I wouldn’t take health advice from him if my life depended on it!

About these ads

94 responses to “Is Canola Oil dangerous?

  1. Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Finding the time and
    actual effort to produce a very good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get anything done.

  2. I come from Canada, where as you know, thousands of people lie dead and dying alongside roads and in ditches, too many to count. They are all victims, not of the bubonic plague as you might have guessed. No, they were addicted to canola and Kraft Dinner.

    Speaking from his Ivory Tower on the 37th floor of the Institute of Advanced Studies, Dr Henry Studybaker said: “This dirty little secret is being kept quiet by Monsanto who are trying to poison the entire world including their own employees by introducing GM products. However, our research shows that it is not the canola causing the problem. Canadians eat 9 times as much Kraft Dinner per capita as anyone else. Prolonged over-consumption of pasta produced by recycling cardboard boxes and fake cheese produced from Crisco and orange dye seems to kill people in the prime of their lives. Of course, there may be a few deaths caused by canola addicts overindulging in their favorite beverage.”

    Speaking from her urban farm, Earthly Vegan Delights, Jennie Smith opined, “I refuse to buy canola. I grow pure rapeseed from preserved pre WW2 seeds and cold press the berries. My health is extraordinary. Although I do seem to have had an upset stomach for years. My naturopath and the Institute for Bible Studies and Creationism say I should cut back on my raw celery intake. Surely ten stalks per day would be the amount Jesus would have eaten, all coated with my rapeseed natural oil?”

    Modern moms know that public health authorities have been trying to kill their babies for decades by vaccinating them against measless, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough and tuberculosis. “It’s not natural” says Woweena Stampovski. “The human race survived for thousands of years without all this modern stuff. They try to tell you that life expectancy has doubled with modern medicine. I’ll believe that when we all live to be the age of Methusaleh!”

    Naturopath Brian Cale adds: “Raw compressed oak leaves will keep your kidneys clean and prevent cancer. If a regular doctor tells you otherwise, remember that they’re all part of the conspiracy to keep the truth from you. Avoid flu shots, you might catch AIDS or Ebola.”

    With the almost instant communication of the internet today, people are freed from the shackles of believing what the authorities spoonfeed them. They can go back to old wives’ tales and herbal remedies.

    “Our plan is working well,” John Smith, spokesman for the NSA said. “The world is over-populated, filled with dumb people, conspiracy theorists and religious nuts of all stripes, ideal for our purposes. By spreading misinformation, we get these sheeple to believe that all modern advances are in fact designed to kill them. Of course, these people will die off early, leading to population decline, which is what the world really needs. It’s Darwinianism in action!”

    “And the best part of it is, we can say this publicly. The people with only one or two neurons between their ears and lacking in logic skills just see this as a double double cross. So in about 100 years, when world population halves, the people with actual brains will rule the world. It’s the perfect scam to get the idiots to happily kill themselves off!”

    • Bill, your cynical mocking approach is an insult to any serious skeptic. Skepticism is about questioning things you have been told to accept without question. You have just made it clear that you only have “one or two neurons” between your ears. idiot

  3. Hi Angela!
    More than a reply is a question: when you talk about the “degradation” of canola oil at 180 degrees, I assume you meant Farenheit, right?
    If so, it seems very low temperature to degrade, isn’t it?
    Otherwise, I liked your article!

  4. I leave a response each time I appreciate a post on a site or I have something to valuable
    to contribute to the discussion. It’s a result of the fire communicated in
    the post I browsed. And on this post Is Canola Oil dangerous?

    | The Skeptic Detective. I was actually moved enough to post a leave a responsea response :-) I actually do have a few
    questions for you if it’s allright. Is it just me or do some of these responsses come across like they arre coming from bran dead visitors? :-P And, if you are posting on additional online social sites, I woluld like to
    keep upp with you. Would you liust alll of alll your social pages
    like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  5. Sorry, but the FDA is in the pocket of whoever is paying. them – the FDA has endorsed thousands of meds that have had to recalled – The best we can do short of growing our own food and livestock is research every product and inform our
    families to so the same. I am pro-truth which is often buried in layers and years of deceit and propaganda.

  6. A genetically engineered rapeseed that is tolerant to herbicide was first introduced to Canada in 1995. In 2009, 90% of the Canadian crop was herbicide-tolerant.[46] As of 2005, 87% of the canola grown in the US was genetically modified.[47] A 2010 study conducted in North Dakota found glyphosate- or glufosinate-resistance transgenes in 80% of wild natural rapeseed plants, and a few plants that were resistant to both herbicides.

  7. Can Angela write her comments without the use of distasteful language? Perhaps,she should cut back on canola consumption?

    • Perhaps you should click the link in the left-hand margin, the one about my use of expletives.

  8. all comments seem self motivated with hideen agendas, I am with Angela fro ONE reason..the FDA has banned canola from ALL baby foods, enough said

  9. You should read Dee McCafferys book, the Science of Skinny. If you want truth based on science instead of a knee jerk reaction against a spam article with some information (abeit not entirely correct) that goes against the grain, you might want to read it. You tried to debunk something and instead spread more dis-information.

  10. You can make your point without personal attacks on the people who have the concerns or who forward the e-mails, no matter how misinformed or alarmist they may be. Your use of personal attacks is arrogant and discredits your information.

    • Personalised attacks? I don’t actually say “This person is an idiot”, although I do point out that the author of the email is making shit up out of whole cloth. I’m not attacking him, I”m attacking the bullshit he has invented to sell a scare.

  11. Thanks Angela, great write up and research. It’s amazing the things people will believe without any hesitation and they will preach it too. Surely some commonsense is required, but not eveyone has that.

    • Kim, it’s not about belief without hesitation. When it comes to health, should one just believe the manufacturers? Where there’s smoke, maybe there is fire. You will not find a similar controvacy surrounding olive oil or grape seed oil, or even sunflower oil, so why would someone opt for the one that has a dubious reputation.

  12. I vote to not eat canola or buy products with it….this is after reading all the pros and cons….including the skeptic. canola is dirt cheap, thats the only reason they use it.

    • Really? What toxic chemicals is it made with? Is it all made with toxic chemicals? I get organic canola oil and canola oil products at my nearby health food store–how can it be labeled organic if it’s got toxic chemicals in it?

      • A major whole food distributor in USA has been selling products with GMO’s, and calling them ‘organic’. Who do you trust?

      • All Canola is processed with Hexanes -which are significant constituents of gasoline. They are all colorless liquids at room temperature, with boiling points between 50 and 70 °C, with gasoline-like odor. They are widely used as cheap, relatively safe, largely unreactive, and easily evaporated non-polar solvents.

    • No, you have not said enough.
      You have made a blanket statement without any evidence to back it up. That is not good enough. Try again.

      • “Canola oil is made at a processing facility by slightly heating and then crushing the seed. Almost all commercial grade canola oil is then refined using HEXANE. Finally, the crude oil is refined using water precipitation and organic acid, “bleaching” with clay, and deodorizing using steam distillation.[22] Approximately 43% of a seed is oil.[23] What remains is a rapeseed meal that is used as high quality animal feed. 22.68 kilograms (50 pounds) of rapeseed makes approximately 10 liters (2.64 US gallons) of canola oil. Canola oil is a key ingredient in many foods. Its reputation as a healthy oil has created high demand in markets around the world, and overall it is the third most widely consumed vegetable oil in the world.[24]

        The oil has many non-food uses, and often replaces non-renewable resources in products including industrial lubricants, biofuels, candles, lipsticks, and newspaper inks.”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canola

        • I think there’s a difference between “All” and “almost all”.
          Expeller pressed IS available. It’s just more expensive.

          • If you go out of your way to consume canola oil over a half dozen better alternatives…and your on a skeptics blog…the irony

            • Well, considering I’m allergic to soy, which is nearly the only thing that food producers use in bread, salad dressings, mayonnaise, desserts and every other product (most of which don’t need oil in the first place) I think I’m rather justified in going out of my way to eat something that won’t cause an allergic reaction. Any other smart ideas? Oh, perhaps you’re not in the US, where that’s all anyone uses anymore. Forgive me–how could you have known, if you haven’t read any food labels in this country.

                • Why shout? You can’t use olive oil for everything. I use olive oil for things that require no or low heat…In case you hadn’t noticed you can’t buy mayonnaise made with olive oil only. So far the only choice I have is soybean oil or canola oil. Would you like to come to my house and make fresh mayonnaise for me with olive oil every time I need it?

                  • You actually can. Whole Foods, Sprouts, any Russian store that sells mayo with no preservatives, etc., etc. I have no idea why you are saying it when the mayo without any of the stuff you mentioned is quite easy to find. If you were really so concerned you could actually make mayo and salad dressings. Otherwise you are just another alarmist pretending to be a concerned citizen.

  13. One can have a skeptical attitude and still believe in God (I find it offensive, but more importantly, I am sad for you, that you defame His good name by calling Him ‘That Wizard in the Sky’: may you turn around your mind before you meet your Maker) In fact, I am a Christian because I am skeptical: I am skeptical about a lot of absurd things these days and that is including the most absurd, evidence-defecient, and multi-flawed theory of them all: Evolution. Half the scientists do not believe in this theory; the rest, who believe, are split in half as to the controlling agency for Evolution. Anyone who says something like this is, to my mind, not a totally consistent and honest skeptic and shouldn’t be listened too. In short, I am skeptical about you.

  14. Yes, All that you say may be true, but I am still staying away from GMO Canola. Why? 1) When you make something entirely new like this do we really know what made; 2) There is no need to use it; it is easy to use other products; so why risk it. 3) As a skeptic, are you inconsistent in believing ALL scientists and agencies (including FDA). I am not saying what they say is not true: but how do we, as true sceptics, know what they say is true. 4) As a skeptic, should you not be skeptical about these chain mail people: couldn’t it be the possibility that these people work for the canola industry and are setting up a false straw man that can be easily pulled down by the so-called canola supporting scientists: I am not saying this is is true, only, as a consistent skeptic, one should allow that posibility: this has been a consistent method used by people who wanted to promote something: for example, communism is a scientifically validated ubsurdity: but notice how they set up the silly straw dog McCarthy–who indeed was a fool, but who was doing good work: he only went too far–to fall down so that they can then stop a proper anti-communism movement and then promote their silly agenda of socialism and the welfare state (which enslaves us all) in the sixties. Sceptics ALL, be consistently skeptical.

  15. Pingback: Do You Use Canola Oil? | Bonz World | World of Food and Health·

  16. Wow. Thanks for the article, Angela. I’m trying to find a way to share it with a friend that won’t offend them. They, like so many others, read those “forward-this-to-everyone-you-know” emails and hang on to what they say until it’s pried from their cold dead hands.

    I’ve read through the thread and am amazed at the completely black and white extremes of the posts here. Fear really does do crazy stuff to people. Once you invoke fear, it seems no intelligent discussion can follow.

    Sorry, this is long but….intelligent discussion and the truth don’t always fit on a bumper sticker.
    I, too, have suffered health problems because of a combination of food allergies, poor lifestyle (+stress, -exercise etc) and with the help of an allergist, a nutritionist and little precious time with a personal trainer, I’m making a comeback.

    Because of my allergies to soy, sulfites, milk and a few other dozen things, I shop mostly shop at “health food/natural” stores. When I do shop a conventional store I, as my nutritionist suggested, “shop on the outside of the store” (where the refrigerated things are) to avoid things that are full of fillers and GM ingredients and preservatives–the things I’m allergic to. Perhaps the person who posted that their life changed because they gave up soy (genetically modified) is because they are allergic to it, not because any soy at all is bad for everyone. Or maybe they were consuming too much. Lots of people eat tofu and soybeans and are very healthy. Many people are sensitive to gluten and wheat. They should stop consuming it and find an alternative, but not everyone has to.

    I’ve found I’m better because I’m doing a LOT of things to help. I’m eating fresh, more nutritionally dense food. I’m drinking more water. I’m getting more exercise. I realized that blindly following an email or a friend’s insistence that “something natural” would solve all my problems is just not the case. One friend insisted that I drink apple cider vinegar every day and it would solve my problems. When I found out I was allergic to sulfites it explained why I seemed to be having more problems after taking apple cider vinegar every day. Doh. I know allergy tests are not 100% reliable, but they can be used as a guide and that’s what I’m doing with them. I am finding my way through the maze with them.

    Too much of anything is bad for us. Not enough of many things is bad for us. I’ve discovered that there is mayonnaise made with canola oil (instead of soybean oil) that I can use. I don’t use much mayo, it’s great to have the option now. My friend recently and defiantly, turned their nose up at it when I mentioned it. That’s because, of course, they’re sure that canola oil is the next plague upon the earth. I suddenly remembered the email they went on about to us about a couple of years ago, and realized they’re still clinging to that theory.

    For me, the genetically modified issue is even more about the control the agriculture corporations inflict on humanity. The agri-businesses are registering genetic code and farmers are being shut down for saving seed to plant the next year, having cross-pollinated crops (pollinated by the GM crops in the next field) and there are some countries where the farmers don’t even have any “heirloom” crops left to plant–they are ENTIRELY dependent on the big companies to sell them seeds to plant. This doesn’t even begin to touch the issue of crops modified to proliferate the use of trademarked insecticides and that pandora’s box. Then, of course, they’re filling our food with cheap, governmentally subsidized ingredients (soy, corn) that probably have less nutritional value than fresh ingredients from crops grown with sustainable methods.

    In order to have a future, people need to stop, look and listen, and THINK. Thank you for being an example for folks who need to learn critical thinking skills.

    • Clean your liver and you can drop your allergies over a couple of weekends. Sulfite is a poison and so is GMO. GMO shuts down your organs and slowly kills you…Stress is caused by a toxic acidic body that is mal-nourished.
      This Blogger I suspect works for the Illuminati and is promoting the interests of toxic terrorism in food, water, air. This Blogger is quick to shrug off Conspiracies which lurk in every isle of a grocery store (proof). Organic food has close to 1000% more nutrients in them when you look at the cross-section of each element of source of nutrition that makes up the fruit or vegetable. Example Spinach has 1000% more Iron in it than non-organic Spinach. GMO is mal-nutrition on steroids :(

  17. As for the e-mail, I find that people that pass that crap around just don’t have a clue. But don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Listen to nature. The bees are trying to tell us something. Mono crops, GMO’s, and Monsanto are supplying a demand. No demand no Monsanto. We need to take a stand and keep informed about what we are really putting in our bodies.

  18. Well this dosnt answer the question as I am sat here with a bottle of cooking oil with 75% canola. Can I fry a healthy plate of fries or what?

  19. I suppose it’s up to people to believe what they want but these snopes sites seem to be supported by the Canola Council of Canada, The fox is in charge of the hen house again.
    Avboid Canola oil if your wise, Jim

    • Wait, what? You think the Canola Council of Canada supports my site?
      hahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

      If they do, they can send me the cheque anytime!

      Nobody supports this site but ME. There is no Canola Oil Conspiracy at work here.

      This is not a covert arm of Big (Canola) Oil.

      • Wait, what? Jim said nothing about your website!!
        You only referred to snopes, and suggested that you read the wikipaedia article when I challenged your statement that canola is not gm.
        As a skeptic, I am surprised how gullible you are Angela.

      • Monsanto is taking over..The media outlets are being persuaded to speak positively about this huge transformation to eliminate non-genetically modified seeds. US and Hawaii’s farmers are fighting back against this giant. There is talk about a food shortage since the seeds were designed to withstand round-up (pesticides containing agent orange.) But they now have to use more and more chemicals to keep the crops growing. The best way to feed your family is buy non-genetically modified seeds through the Seeds Savers catalog, feed your chickens and farm animals non-gmo feed, read labels on all your other purchases. Don’t support Monsanto!

      • I’m not sure what to make of this. While I know that journalists are not immune to bias and false reporting, I find it difficult to believe that a company could sway all the news media in the world and do so without being found out.

        Not everybody can grow their own crops, I don’t have a garden much less arable land. And I know I’m not alone in this. If we want to feed our population we need to develop high-yield crops.

        Does this mean that the seeds will cost more? Probably. Does this mean that the non-Monsanto crops will be used less often? Probably, if Monsanto is providing the best options for high-yield, disease resistant crops.

        I’m not sure about the claims of food shortages because of pesticide resistance or having to use chemicals to keep the crops growing.

        What is so precious about the non-Monsanto crops? (And I don’t mean this in a flippant way. Seriously, what makes them better?)

        • What makes non GM crops better? easy answer, control in the hands of the farmers, not greedy chemical companies who have gone into food, to sell more chemicals.

      • Are there 2 Angela’s posting, or did you actually look into a few things? Either way at least we got you to think outside the box.

      • Comments aren’t going in their right places on here. That last one was in regards to the your statement that you don’t trust Monsanto.

    • Jim is pointing out the obvious due to research on media bias. Do yourself a favor Angela and Google: Snopes media bias. CNN and other major bias news outlets have referenced snopes and gave it the attention to become the gospel of all truth..Some are sheep, but the real thinkers do extensive research to weigh all the facts. View the argument from both sides. Go to Natural News and other places to see what other views are on this subject.

      • The fact is that while I linked Snopes in the article, it is NOT the only source I checked at the time I wrote this article. I linked it because it summed up all the sources pretty well.
        There is NO WAY ON THIS EARTH that I will use Natural News as a source for any kind of non-biased content because the “Health Ranger” is a crazy nut-job. Talk about bias, Mike Adams is not someone whose opinion I would take seriously on anything.
        His mind-blowingly insane post about “What Skeptics Actually Think” that he posted a few weeks ago is evidence of how unhinged and biased he really is. And proof of how happy he is to make shit up out of whole cloth and then cry foul when he is challenged. Mike Adams is a douche bag and Natural News is an epic example of fuckwittery.

      • Seriously Angela..I said Natural News and OTHER places referring to healthy living that you know nothing about. If you really cared what you or your family ate you wouldn’t want them to eat poison. There’s plenty of research you can do on what is healthy and what is not!

      • And if Natural News is your first reference, I shudder to think what the rest of your sources are.
        And I don’t see how you can assume that I feed my family poison, as you have no idea what foods I give them.

      • - Monsanto is not concerned with health, poverty, food security etc. profit and power are the motivations. This is why they regularly file law suites against any farmer whose crop has been invaded by their [Monsanto's] plants.
        - They claim to achieve better yields, but these claims are unsubstantiated, as can be witnessed by the thousands of Indian farmers that have committed suicide after converting to Monsanto crops, and suffering huge crop failure.
        - They claim that Gm crops are safe, and yet are resistant to label food as such. If Gm was so good, surely they would want to label it.
        - They claim that ‘Roundup’ is safe, but have lost court cases on this issue.

        • This is pretty flawed logic. People have demonized the term genetically modified so even if it was completely safe (and there is good reason to believe it is), fear mongers like you would make that product fail.

  20. I had health problems (thyroid, blood sugar, irregular heart beat, mental fog and fatigue) for a long time until I gave up soy, canola, and Bromine. Even the Gatorade I was drinking has bromine, so I make my own. I eat iodized salt so I get the iodine my body needs for thyroid function. Soy, canola and bromine block the thyroid from what I’ve all researched. I feel great now so I’m not going to start eating that junk again. Unfortunately I can’t eat anything but a baked potato if I go out to eat. Even ranch dressing has canola oil in it. I wish the food would just go back to the way it was so we have choices. I eat pure cane sugar, not fake sugar, still drink my coffee..and Just by dumping the soy, canola, and bromine I have all my energy back, lost weight and my health problems are gone!

    • Hi Jamie,

      I am glad that this has helped you to feel better, however I would caution all my readers against using your testimonial to make their own health decisions. Not because I don’t believe that this worked for you, but because each patient is different and what works for one person may not work for another. If you think this might help you, please seek advice from a properly qualified medical professional.

      • That may be true, but if someone thinks they have a thyroid problem, they really should be discussing their options with their doctors. And having heard that this change of diet could help, I would recommend anybody speak to their doctor about it before using it as an alternative to existing treatment.

      • You are the biggest idiot on the planet. Never listen to your doctor, folks. Listen to yourself.

      • Oh really, @Fuck Doctors?
        Have you ever had a bacterial infection, like a chest infection? What did you take to get better, hmmmm?

    • She’s probably sitting behind her computer eating ding dongs, waiting for her doctor to tell her she shouldn’t eat that! Remember don’t use common sense!

  21. My aunt recieved the email about canola oil being bad, and declared she’d never use it again.
    I read the email and pointed out what a ridiculous article it was, going thru the claims one by one, shooting them down.
    A 10-year-old family member, on her laptop, simultaneously googled, found your article, and presented it to us.
    It says exactly what I was explaining, with the extra benefit of research and reflective writing, it was such a great addition to my own argument.
    Thank you.

    PS, I wonder which of the other food-oil industries sent this email around the world, in an effort to dent canola’s popularity?

    • Thank you for your compliment and I’m really glad that my article could help you counter your aunt’s readiness to believe the chain mail.

      I guess it might be some other oil manufacturer who started this, but I’m not inclined to think that everything is a conspiracy. People get bad information into their heads and they like to spread it, with the best intentions. That’s why we have to be vigilant.

  22. You had better check you facts, Canola was a product of selective cross breeding, but now, most canola is indeed GM.
    Monsanto provides rounup ready canola, genetically modified to be resistant to their herbicide ’roundup’. This is no secret.
    Monsanto uses aggressive tactics to force GM crops on farmers, and will attempt to sue non-GM farmers where the GM variety have been found to have ‘invaded’.
    It is not necessary to genetically modify food, it is not leading toward food security or health. It is driven by the persuit of power, profit and control, and it is an assult on bio-diversity.

  23. Snopes is a joke. How can anyone trust any one site that is supported majorly by one entity?

    There are more qualified and trustworthy sites to look to other than Snopes.

    Canola is a terrible, cheap choice.

    Coconut Oil, Olive Oil – stick to the tried and true and for the sake of, instead of regurgitating Snopes , do some real research. Some pro and con evidence would have been nice.

    • I have to agree, Snopes is not always a reliable source of info. Check Wikipaedia on the issue of Canola. If you do not agree with the article saying that Canola is GM, then challenge them and submit your evidence.

      • Well, I did use Wikipedia. So, yeah… No real point there. Just because I quote Snopes doesn’t mean it was my only source.

      • so, do you convieniently ignore statements like
        “Today 80% of the acres sown are genetically modified canola”

  24. I’m not going to say that you are wrong in saying that canola oil isn’t terrible for us. But from my experiences any oil derived from a low fat source is not good for us. Think about how much of the “canola” plant you would have to eat to get the equivalence of a tablespoon of oil. Suffice to say you would have more than a little tummy ache. It’s fine with me if you want to consume oils like this but I prefer to stick to Coconut, olive, etc… oils and butter instead of practically fat less based plant oils.

    • You could stand to do a little research into very basic science. ALL OILS ARE 100% fat ! ! ! There is no such thing as a “practically fat less based plant oil.” Also, canola oil is not supposed to be low in fat, but low in Acid, the acid being what makes the oil less palatable or possibly toxic. Actually even though coconut oil is something that’s been used for years, it does not mean it’s safe. Coconut oil is in fact the most deadly of the plant oils, because it is 91% saturated fats, which are the really bad ones that stick to the insides of your arteries and cause coronary artery disease! It’s best to not use any oils in your cooking at all, if possible. Try using a wok with water in it (purified of course) instead. And for the essential fatty acids you need in your diet, try eating nuts and seeds. Walnuts and sunflower seeds are good examples and taste good also.

  25. Pingback: Coconut oil shelf life? Other cooking oils·

  26. Um as an educated individual i can honestly say that a century of cross-breeding is quite analogous to genetic engineering, after all that “is” what cross-breeding is in effect doing. Its just instead of it happening in a lab over a period of years it is happening in the subjects forgive me “bedroom or breeding area”.
    That aside I still would like to point out that no real studies have been done proving the benefits of canola oil. It has been deemed acceptable by our governments safety standards, but that certainly does not make it healthy or even good for us. Claiming that swapping out a tablespoon of saturated oil for canola oil is somehow going to lower the risk of heart disease is absolutely ludicrous. After all heart disease has already been shown to not necessarily be caused by saturated oils and that certain plant based saturated oils such as peanut oil are indeed better alternatives to “ahem” lard or animal based oils….plant based oils in most cases regardless of there saturated or unsaturated qualities are mostly considered healthier than animal based oils and fats. That being said neither argument can really hold much merit……I would certainly like to see studies done on the actual effects of HDL/LDL ratios of cholesterol when canola is substituted for olive oil. That would be interesting……..

    • Why is Canola considered healthy? Extract from wiki -
      “Canola oil has been given a qualified health claim from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration[31] based on the theory that the absence of saturated fats (consumption of which may cause coronary heart disease) in the oil content makes it a healthy food.”
      - so, it is assumed to be healthy because of the absence of saturated fats, remember that the ‘theory’ about saturated fats, is somewhat questionable, and going back a few years, margerines containing trans fats were considered by some to be ‘healthy’ and good old butter unhealthy. Olive oil and coconut oil are healthy ‘saturated fats’

      • There is really no such thing as a ‘healthy oil.’ That’s an absolute statement. It is a lie to say that coconut oil or olive oil are good for you. It is EXACTLY Analogous to saying that smoking 2 packs of cigarettes per day is good for you, when compared to smoking 4 packs of cigarettes per day. Olive oil is better for you than peanut oil, but IT IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU, it is just Less Bad for you. Oil is a 100% processed food and only adds calories to your diet. It’s better to avoid altogether. You do need oil in your diet, but it is By Far better to get it from nuts and seeds. There are several studies that show a reduction of up to 50% in sudden cardiac death rates in people eating an ounce of nuts per day. Clearly, there is something (a phytonutrient) in nuts that has been removed by the processing into a simple oil.

        As to Dwayne’s comment, cross breeding is NOT the same as Genetic Engineering. Genetic Engineering means to cross bread DIFFERENT SPECIES that would have never exchanged genetic material under the rules of God or Mother Nature. Putting genes from an eel into a Salmon (which has been done) creates some new monster never seen before on planet Earth and never intended by natural processes. This is far different from cross breeding between two individuals of the same species to try to get a dog that is prettier, or a pea that naturally resists freezing winters better than another one.

  27. Mrs. Crappy Detective, your debunk is no much better then the bunk itself because it’s not based on evidence. At least you are not presenting links or given credit to where you’ve got your information from. It seems you just decided to take the canola oil side and present your view. Why should someone take your side of the story, really? On top of it you just saying that you are a big fan of GMO products and defending it. Really, try to debunk why the big corporations just want your money and don’t give a shit about you or your health.
    P.S. If you love your kids maybe you should be more careful with what you put through their mouth.

    • Err Joe, referencing snopes.com counts as evidence. Snopes is a much used and reliable resource for anyone debunking hoax mails like this one. She also did actual research here, or did you miss that part? Why would you think someone would spend this much time and effort “just presenting their own view”? Angela’s view happens to be that shared by logical, rational people the world over – and she’s doing everyone a favour by taking the time to, as she puts it so well, “demolish the ridiculous bollocks contained in this e-mail and provide you with the actual facts of the situation”.

      I’ve also gone over the post again – where exactly does she say she’s a fan of GMO products? Doesn’t she simply point out that the oil in question here is NOT genetically modified, it’s a product of cross-breeding?

      And then you finish off with an unwarranted and unpleasant ad hominem argument. How mature.

  28. Pingback: The Carnival of the Africans – The Phoenix Edition « The Skeptic Detective·

  29. Hi Capri. I’m glad that you enjoy my post. But would not appreciate it if you repost it on your own site. Especially if you make changes. This is my work and it took a lot of effort.

  30. Well, looks like I’m going to put up the debunk of the Canola hoax. There’s a similar one about butter vs. margarine too, and it’s just as bad. It claims margarine is a molecule away from plastic and flies won’t go near it or something to that effect. Uh, table salt is also a molecule away from being either chlorine or straight sodium, both poisonous in their pure form and with enough exposure. Sheesh, chain letters like this still dupe so many people, playing on their lack of even the basics of chemistry and common sense. I’m going to repost your debunk on my site, but change that “wizard in the sky” thang to “existance of Big Foot or Montok” or some such mythical creature.

    • The FDA has banned canola oil from all baby products and feed. Should we not ask them WHY it’s ok for us but not our babies. Here in Australia they are swapping it out from sunflower and palm (I know it’s crap too) for canola without really publishing it same with lays or walkers crisps because the government give it as reduced rate of 4 vented per litre and is tax offset table.
      Why eat rubbish when you can spend a dollar or two more on good healthy proven stuff you’d have to be stupid. That’s what thy are hoping for with their silver lining watch what you eat period.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s