My wife (not paleo, but generally agrees with whole foods approach) recently read an article in Eating Well magazine which said that Americans need to better balance 3:6 ratio by trading in sunflower and corn oil for canola oil (higher in 3), along with eating more fish, nuts and olive oil.
She knows my hate for canola is beyond words so she asked me for my opinion. I first looked up canola in the USDA database:
It is only about 30% polyunsaturated and the 6:3 ratio is ~2:1, which I believe is within the typical ratio that people target (I believe anywhere from 2:1 to 1:1). Interesting. Some arguments come to mind:
(1) The omega 3 in canola oil is plant-based (ALA) rather than (DHA/EPA). HOWEVER, so is the omega 3 in grass fed beef which none of us would have a problem with:
(2) Even if the ratio is reasonable, it is much better to use fats that are primarily saturated, because polyunsaturated fat is prone to oxidation and 30% is still high
(3) Doesn't necessarily apply to me, but most people on SAD are likely getting way to much n6, so ideally they should try to eat foods with a better than 2:1 ratio to offset the excess n6 rather than compounding the problem
I guess #2 should be enough of a good reason, but are there others? Many on here use the word "rancid" when referring to seed oils. What do we mean by that? Are they more likely to be oxidized before we cook with them then say nuts for example? Is that also by chance an argument that mainstream could pick up on? Why or why not?
UPDATE: Thanks everyone. Lots of great answers below, and the WAP article linked below is especially informative. Christopher makes a good point that this question could be asked about two different types of canola oil (1) industrially made and (2) non-GMO more naturally made canola oil. Though, I think #1 is much more pervasive so perhaps more relevant. The WAP article does seem to address #2 quite well also. Non-GMO rapeseed oil contains high levels of erucic acid which may be quite dangerous. Also, getting a bulk of your fat from monounsaturated fat is likely evolutionarily novel and some research shows it to be potentially dangerous.
Please show this article:
Here's the nice pic that captures oil processing!
"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."
Animal fats, coconut oil, olive oil, pastured butter seem to me to be enough fat choices for any food prep.
I recently asked Paul Jaminet this question, and his take was essentially identical to what you suggested, but with additional emphasis on #3. The ratio in canola is not the issue, it's that the PUFAs are just too high to begin with. From Paul...
"We want PUFAs to be less than 5% of energy so less than 7.5% of fats (on a 65% fat diet). Since our recommended meats are 3% to 15% PUFA, you can’t afford to eat a 30% PUFA oil."
That's the PHD take, anyway :)
All I know is that when I inadvertently eat Canola Oil I hurt in all of my muscles about 6-12 hours later, for about a day. Not clinical research I know.
Diane and Liz on the 'Balanced Bites' podcast talked about canola and how the 6:3 numbers in the bottle didn't reflect the numbers we absorb. maybe in the Paleo 101 part 2 podcast in January? I think.
There are chemicals in the refining process that can hurt. One of my friends was running low grade fever for 4 years. After switching to a low toxin diet, he found that the problem was refined oils. Doesn't matter which.
Its a good idea to stay away from refined oils even if they are something as healthy as coconut oil. In India we get filtered coconut oil, which has not undergone the deodorizing and purifying using solvents.
Temperature matters. If you cook your Salmon to 300 degrees F, then yes, but at that point, it has no moisture left in it and is hardly something you would consume, anyways. If you cook it to 140F or less, then it shouldn't be a problem.
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