It usually pays to dig deeper when getting your health information from the mainstream media
One example of this is the popular view of two very different oils – canola oil and coconut oil. Most people think that canola oil is good for them and they should avoid coconut oil. As it turns out, both views are the result of marketing hype – the exact opposite is true.
As usual, the details are important.
For example, coconut oil is only healthy when you use the extra-virgin, cold-pressed and unadulterated form of it. Like any oil, when you hydrogenate coconut oil it creates trans fatty acids. Non-hydrogenated coconut oil has no trans fats.
Consuming trans fats increases heart disease risk. It may also lead to Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, diabetes, liver problems and female infertility.
Canola oil, by contrast, cannot be made by just squeezing it from the seed. To get the oil out and make it palatable requires the use of high temperatures and exposure to solvents and deodorizing chemicals. Along the way the trans fat content of canola oil increases.
Here’s a quick summary of each oil:
In addition, coconut oil inhibits health-damaging fungus like Candida albicans, reduces inflammation, increases Basal Metabolic Rate (supports weight loss), and supports the immune system.
I recommend you do some food label detective work to sniff out the hidden sources of canola oil. Virtually every commercial salad dressing contains canola oil (even if it says, “olive oil” on the label).
You will also find soy oil in some dressings, but soy oil (often labeled “vegetable oil”) is in some ways worse than canola because it can damage brain cells, depress the thyroid and typically comes from genetically modified plants. For more on soy, see, “How Healthy Is Soy?”
How can you incorporate coconut oil in your diet? It’s actually pretty easy. For example, I like to cook my eggs in a mixture of half coconut oil and half butter.
You can also use it in place of many other oils for cooking. I ran across a page with hundreds of recipes on the Tropical Traditions web site. They also sell virgin coconut oil. Another reliable source is Wilderness Family Naturals. (Note that these links are not affiliate links. I’m not associated with either company and am not compensated for recommending them. I have used coconut oil products from both.)
All the best to you for your health and happiness,
The Real Story on Canola Oil (Can-ugly Oil), Fred Pescatore, MD, MPH, CCN
Nurse’s Health Study, which demonstrated the health damaging effects of canola oil.
Hyperhealth Pro Database, In-Tele-Health, Hansville, WA, 2008.