Like all of you, I have been invited to eat at friends many many times.
And I have to say that I am still astonished that we all buy different types of oil, but we do not know their origins neither we have an understanding if they are good or bad for us.
Here is one for you – I was with a friend the other night, and he said he now uses canola oil.
I asked him why? The answer was simple. The word ‘Canola‘ sounded exotic.
But is Canola oil good for you? Can you use it in any dish? Are they some simple rules to use it? Let me elaborate a little more with a simple question:
Did you ever come across which of grape seed oil versus canola oil is best for you?
Does this ring the bell. Well, I will give you the answer below to this question.
But before doing so, you need to know a little more about Canola and grape seed oil in order to make an informed decision.
What is Canola oil?
First, let’s have a look at where does the word Canola comes from.
It is fairly easy. You just need to combine the word CANada (as the country Canada) and OLA.
There are two stories associated with the three letters OLA. One story says that OLA means oil and the other one says that OLA stands for Oil Low Acid. Does this matter? Not really, but it is quite good to know that the three letters stand for something.
The reason for Canada to be mentioned is simple. It is because this oil was created in Canada. So the people behind the oil decided to get their country mentioned in the naming of the oil. That’s all.
Historically, the oil that was called rapeseed oil.
This oil was mainly used for industrial purposes as it was really cheap to make. Unfortunately, this oil was not eatable due to two main substances:
- Glucosinolates: this is a substance that makes the oil taste awful. (1)
- Erucic acid: scientists studied this substance on rats and found that it caused heart damage. Note that this is a fatty acid.(2)
That’s where a number Canadian scientists aimed at producing edible rapeseed.
They went to the extent of using advanced selective breeding techniques.
And they managed to “come up” with a new type of seeds where the content of harmful and bitter substances was low.
That’s how CANOLA oil was created.
The good news is that any company that wants to produce Canola oil must meet very stringent internationally recognized regulation and standard.
Unfortunately, about 90% of Canola oil is nowadays produced by the major companies with genetically modified crops. Does that ring the bells?
Canola oil is simply an oil that is extracted from rapeseeds (see picture below). The rapeseeds used in the production of such oil are specifically bred to contain less of the ‘bad taste’ substances. Regrettably, the vast majority of the world’s canola crop is now produced from genetically modified crops.
What is grape seed oil?
Having discussed canola, it is also important to look at grape seed oil (3) before we make a comparison.
Grape seed oil is produced by pressing the seeds of grapes. It is known under many different names, but the most common are grapeseed oil and grape oil.
It was created because a lot of these seeds served no purpose for winemaking companies. As such they are a lot of by-product seeds which was just simply a waste.
Therefore, they decided to produce oil, that is grapeseed oil.
Grapeseed oil is one of the many oils that are widely used for cooking.
It has been widely discussed in the press and is quite controversial.
The good and bad of grape seed oil
On one side of the argument, scientists claim that it has similar features to olive oil. It contains some monounsaturated fat.
However, many forget that it also contains polyunsaturated fats, also known as PUFAs. These are the like of omega-6s and omega-9 fatty acids.
Obviously, it has been demonstrated that these can be used as anti-inflammatory healthy fats.
They are quite good for your brain health, your hormones, your tissue fibers and your heart health. You may make a quick conclusion here: Grape seed oil is good!
Well, I would not say so.
Grapeseed oil comes with fairly high levels of PUFAs and omega-6s.
This is where the bad news comes from.
Because we eat these two substances in way too much in our daily diet, it is important not to add to it via grapeseed oil.
Again, we are all aware that there are good and bad fats.
And that “Good Fats” are absolutely essential for your overall health.
Good fats bring a nice portion of our daily requirement of fatty acid that helps our human body.
A good example of this is the Omega-3 fatty acid. This fatty acid helps us dramatically in fighting diseases caused by internal inflammation.
But apart from omega-3s fatty acids, did you hear in the press or elsewhere that eating plenty fatty acids such as omega-6s and omega-9s are good for you? May be there is a reason for that.
So now, how do you chose between these two oils? Is it time to look at grape seed oil versus canola oil?
Grape seed oil versus canola oil
Both grape seed and canola oil could be taken as healthy, but the question is which one is healthier than the other?
I would, by instinct, go for the grape seed oil.
You may ask why?
Well simply because canola oil is:
- A genetically modified product. At least over 90% of its production is genetically modified. (4)
- A refined oil. And on top of this, Canola is sometimes (often) partially hydrogenated. Hydrogenation is good as it increases its stability but is really bad for our health.
So when you look at the above, I would advise not to eat or cook with Canola oil.
Nevertheless, I want to tell you a little bit more about grapeseed oil versus canola oil.
Currently, there is no long-term independent study that shows GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) canola oil having adverse effects on human being.
You notice the word “long-term”. However, there are many short-term reports discussing the negative effect on your liver, kidneys, and worse than that, on your neurological system.
Some may argue this, but there already are reports out there that show the negative effect of GMO plants such as soy and corn. These reports have the same conclusions. Eating GMO products lead to health issues.
According to Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, both experts in fat and working at the Weston A. Price Foundation, trans fatty acid levels as high as 4.6 percent in commercial liquid oil. And this is not good news. Unfortunately, trans fatty acid levels in oil are not listed on the label. Funny that, isn’t it? If this is not dangerous, why not listing this substance? You make your own conclusion.
What are the dangers of Canola Oil?
There are many, but will only list the most common and well-known ones.
1- Can slow normal children growth
Think of it, it is only recently that Canola has finally been allowed to use in infant formula. Does that ring the bell?
Canola contains euroric acid. And this acid is harmful to infants. That’s because infants are not able to properly break this substance down. So if you check your infant food recipes in the supermarket, try and avoid this substance. (5)
2- Liver and kidneys health issues
If you felt that the above point was hard to take, think about this one. Again, I want to remind you that most of the canola oil is GMO produce. And you must not underestimate this.
Many studies have clearly demonstrated that absorbing such GMOs lead to liver and kidneys side effects and health issues. Why would canola oil not be affected?
In a 90 day trial, the Environmental Sciences Europe has demonstrated that ingesting GMO disrupt your liver and kidneys. So absorbing canola oil that is GMO continuously may lead to a kidneys and liver failure.
Without our liver, we cannot survive. And without our kidneys, we need to go to the hospital to get our blood filtered almost continuously. So why would you want to use this oil in your diet?
3- Strokes and hypertension health problems with canola oil
Consuming canola oil shortens your lifespan. If you consume it, you are prone to hypertension and stroke.
Substantial research was conducted at the Nutrition and Toxicology Research Divisions of Ottawa.
They demonstrated animals that have high blood pressure and are fed with canola have a lower lifespan. They also conducted the same study with animals that were fed with non-canola oil diet. The findings are that these animals lived longer. (6)
4- Full of unhealthy trans fats
We already touched upon this subject.
Trans fats are a group of fats you want to avoid. It is known that these increase your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol. Basically, it increases your level of bad cholesterol and reduces your level of good cholesterol.
Generally speaking, anything that has on the food label “partially hydrogenated oil”, you are guaranteed to find trans fat in it. So stay away from the word “partially”.
Trans fatty acids are very dangerous byproducts of food processing and will truly destroy your health.
5- Life-threatening heart issues
Canola oil is monounsaturated and contains a lot of erucic acids.
If you do not know it, then erucic acid is a fatty acid. And this acid is associated with heart damage.
You may have heard of the Keshan heart disease. Well, that is exactly what you can get by ingesting this oil.
Now onto the grape seed oil.
What are the good points of grapeseed oil?
I think it is always good to provide some of the good points of this oil and then show you what are the bad ones:
1- This comes from a true waste biotype material
First, I want to emphasize that the seeds come from the waste of the grapes that are used to make wine. And it is known that wine companies treat well their vineyards as they want nice produce ‘wine’.
So, on this point, it is good to conclude that the seed comes from a well-structured industry that is looking after their vineyards.
It is also important to note that the seeds are used to produce oil as an extra income and therefore it is not the primary income for vineyard owners. As such, they put a high emphasis on the quality of their grapes, which lead to a high quality of seeds.
2- Really good for your hair and body skin – Full of vitamin E
Many professionals advise using this oil on your skin as a moisturizer.
This is especially true for the hair as it is free of synthetic substances.
Seed oil is also a good source of vitamin E so it is advisable to use it. (7)
Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that provides unique health characteristics for our health. We should use it more often.
And when you compare it to olive oil, grapeseed oil has about double the vitamin E.
Vitamin E must be ingested in good quantities as it improves your immune system greatly. (8)
3- High content in PUFA Omega-6s and linoleic acids
If you recall, canola has PUFA Omega-6 but we said these are quite bad for you.
Well, it depends on which types of omega-6 fatty acids you are talking about. Some promote inflammation but others don’t. In this case, the PUFA omega 6 that also includes linoleic acids work in your favor.
The linoleic acid available in the oil, once digested by your body is converted into what is known as gamma-linolenic acid (or GLA). These GLAs are unique as they protect our bodies.
GLA reduce our cholesterol levels and some of our internal inflammations (inflammations that are internal to our bodies and that we cannot see).
4- It is non-hydrogenated and there is zero trans fat
One can argue how much fatty acids are best.
However, we cannot argue about the risks associated with trans fats and hydrogenated fats. That is why you need to avoid them at all cost.
Consider this, trans fats are found in fast food, in readily packaged snacks, and all type of fried foods.
There is so much evidence against these for our health that they have being banned in many cases.
A large number of food manufacturers are moving away from them. Why should we persist with these then?
As this oil is non-hydrogenated and there is zero trans fat, then you should consume it.
5- High smoke point versus other vegetable oils including canola oil
PUFAs type of oils is not the best choice for cooking. They usually have a low smoke point and as such, they’re known to oxidize easily and become “toxic” to our health.
The good news is that grapeseed oil has a higher smoke point than most of the available vegetable oils including olive oil. So it is good to cook with it (moderately – more to come below).
The bad side of grape seed oil
Like anything else, grape seed oil has a downside. And this comes from the fact that it comes with a high content of PolyUnsaturated FAts. Remember polyunsaturated are the PUFAs.
These different type of PUFAs such as omega-3s, omega-6s, and omega-9s.
Most of the fatty acids in grape seeds are of PUFAs in nature.
This is good but also bad (hence a bit controversial).
It is the quantity that you need to look at or more precisely the ratio. Too much of it is bad. Too little is not enough.
What I mean is that too much of omega-6s is really bad for you if you do not consume the other fatty acids (omega-3s especially).
Eating only omega-6s is highly problematic as it will definitely increase your inflammation levels. (8)
All in all, if you eat too much grapeseed oil, you may end up with health issues. Here is why.
Look at the level omega-6s in grape seed oil versus canola oil and other vegetable oils. You can see that grapeseed has the highest levels amongst the listed ones:
- Grapeseed oil: 70 percent omega-6 PUFA
- Sunflower oil: 68 percent
- Corn oil: 54 percent
- Soybean oil: 51 percent
- Canola oil: 19 percent
What is the danger with omega-6 in grape seed oil?
Well both the omega-3s and omega-6s are important for us. But the ration between them must be right.
For instance, omega-6s and omega-3s are both needed for a good brain function as well as your metabolism and especially so for your neurotransmitter function.
The problem is that we tend to eat too much of omega-6s.
Each country has its own take about the ratio ranging from 1:1 or up to 10:1.
However, most countries tend to say that higher omega-3 ingest is correlated with better health.
This is found what we know as the Mediterranean diet, where the level of omega-6 fatty acids is quite low when compared to the American diet.
It is known that the Mediterranean diet is related to better heart health, is an excellent weight management and has a fantastic positive effect on cognitive functioning into older age.
So here comes the negative points of a diet rich in omega 6-s:
- You’ll increase your body inflammation: excess in PUFA consumption can lead to increase in inflammation. Such inflammation will simply increase your risks for heart diseases, high blood vessels, and brain.
- Increase levels of cholesterol: this is bad as it can lead to the risk for clogged arteries, heart disease and so on.
- Hormonal imbalance and unfortunate thyroid disorders: the above inflammation damages your body ability to balance important hormones. You really need to know this. Ingesting high levels of omega-6s could lead to interference with your ability to produce sex hormones. You’ll also experience swing in your mood and it will interfere with thyroid activity.
- Obesity and weight gain: when your level of inflammation increases and your hormones are not balanced, then your metabolism will change and you’ll put on weight.
Conclusions on grape seed oil versus canola oil
I think you guessed which oil is best for your health. When comparing both oils, grape seed comes on top.
But you may still ask yourselves, is grape seed oil healthy. Yes and No.
Yes if you do not consume too much of it.
And No if you ingest a lot of it.
I think the best way to look a this is as if you needed to balance the consumption of such oil.
When you think that our diet is already high in Omega-6, then one should probably not eat too much of grape seed oil.
So you may say, may be I need to go back to the canola oil then? Well no.
It is best to cook with some grapeseed oil at times, but I would not do it on a daily basis.
What you really need to do is to use a range of oils that have healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil and eat fish, avocado, etc.
It is by having this balance of food intake that you will get away from unhealthy eating.
Final conclusion, I would go for grape seed oil instead of canola oil if I had only these two choices on my table. Now you got your answer.
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