"So many different compounds can be made during
partial hydrogenation that they
Scientists have barely scratched the surface of
studying change induced in fat and oil by partial hydrogenation."
long-chain fatty acids found in canola have been found to destroy the
sphingomyelin surrounding nerve cells in the brain, in some cases leading to a
degenerative brain condition remarkably similar to mad cow disease (bovine
spongiform encephalopathy); in advanced cases the brain tissue develops a
Swiss-cheese-like appearance, full of holes.
Illnesses and conditions that have
been associated with canola oil consumption include loss of vision (retinal
capillaries are very sensitive and easily damaged), and a wide range of
The high temperatures used in canola
refining will damage many of the essential fatty acids, which are much more
susceptible to damage by heat than saturated fats.
Heat converts many
of unsaturated double bonds to a "trans" configuration.
high-quality essential fatty acids are required for human health, in their
damaged or rancid forms they become harmful.
Additional problems with
canola oil include the presence of minute, but potentially dangerous, amounts
of thioglycosides, which have thyrotoxic effects.
To reduce the
concentration of these compounds requires processing with alkalinizing agents
plus high temperatures; unfortunately, the high temperatures used in processing
have other undesirable effects, the most serious of which is the conversion of
unsaturated fats to a trans fat form.
Rapeseed has been selectively
bred and genetically engineered in an attempt to reduce the toxic components
and processing methods were developed to further reduce the concentration of
Prior to its entry into the "health" food
market, it was known as rapeseed oil, but savvy marketing professionals knew
that the health food market, heavily dominated by young, college-educated
women, would not purchase a repulsive-sounding product called rapeseed oil.
The name of the selectively bred variety was changed to canola (as in
"Canadian oil"; it has been heavily promoted by Canadian government and
agricultural organizations); the name rolls off the tongue with a mellifluous
Rapeseed oil, the third-largest source of vegetable oil in the
world, comes from rapeseed (Brassica napus) a bright-yellow flowering member of
the family Brassicaceae.
Rapeseed oil contains 50% erucic
Erucic acid is broken down into shorter-chain fatty acids in the
human liver by the long-chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase enzyme.
has a toxic effect on the heart at high enough doses.
animal studies with erucic acid through the 1970s led to governments worldwide
moving away from oils with high levels of erucic acid.
Tolerance levels for
human exposure to erucic acid have been established based on the animal
In 2003, Food Standards Australia set a provisional tolerable
daily intake (PTDI) for an average adult of about 500 mg/day of erucic acid,
extrapolated based on "the level that is associated with increased myocardial
lipidosis in nursing pigs.
There is a 120-fold safety margin between
this level and the level that is associated with increased myocardial lipidosis
in nursing pigs.
An individual consuming foods fried in canola has the
potential to approach the PTDI, in particularly if the level of erucic acid in
the processed canola oil exceeds 2% of the total fatty
fats are forged when vegetable oils undergo a chemical process known as
The classical example of a hydrogenation is the addition
of hydrogen on unsaturated bonds between carbon atoms, converting alkenes to
are found in the pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries.
reactions between organic compounds and hydrogen require metal catalysts. With
rare exception, no reaction below 480 °C occurs between hydrogen and
organic compounds in the absence of metal catalysts.
"Trans fats, a
manufactured byproduct of the partial hydrogenation of any vegetable oil,
sabotage cell membranes, inhibiting cells from performing their intended
functions. Cells all over the body cannot perform the exquisite and delicate
work they were designed to do once partially hydrogenated oil is absorbed." -
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