While researching vegetable oils to use as a supplement for my horse — which research is still in process — I came across a comment (post number 690, posted by Lori, username Maggienm, on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 9:20 PM) on Horseadvice.com that referenced the article “Canola oil -good or bad?” by Dr. Carl Albrecht. She was addressing claims against canola oil that ultimately trace to a book and an article by John Thomas — which claims she found debunked on Snopes. Mr. Thomas’ article is also debunked on About.com‘s Urban Legends.
Writing on About.com, Peter Kohler says Mr. Thomas first made his claims against canola oil in a book:
This book—the source of many of the statements and opinions shared with us in the text above—was Young Again: How to Reverse the Aging Process by John Thomas, first published in 1994 by Plexus Press.
Dr. Albrecht said:
On the 12th July 2000 I received an e-mail containing very negative aspects of Canola Oil. I decided to analyse the veracity of these statements because the Cancer Association of South Africa has identified Canola Oil as a possible food item that could help to reduce the incidence of cancer due to the presence of omega-3-fatty acids. These fats are deficient in the average Western diet and it is thought that the diet should contain a balance of omega-6- and omega-3-fatty acids for optimum health.
Using the Copernic 2000 search engine and the search term “Canola Oil” I retrieved 70 websites. One of these, www.naturalhealthinfo.com contained an article by John Thomas on Canola Oil. This article contained the same statements as were circulated in the e-mail. I also contacted email@example.com , and requested further information. I received an official statement by Prof Bruce MacDonald of the Department of Nutrition of the University of Manitoba in Canada from Dorothy Long as well as her personal remarks. According to these documents, a Mr Thomas in a “health magazine called Perceptions” in 1995 made the original “attack” on Canola Oil. In order to analyse the statements of Mr Thomas I will place them in a table on the left, with rebuttals on the right. Many of the statements were checked against the prestigious Medline site, which contains 11 million medical abstracts. The Medline site address is www3,ncbi.nlm.gov/Entrez/medline.html. [Did Dr. Albrecht mean MedilinePlus?]
This article by John Thomas an excellent example of misinformation created to discredit a bona fide commercial product.
After analysing the statements of John Thomas and Prof Bruce MacDonald as well as consulting textbooks, Medline, The Merck Index and other sources of information, I am satisfied that this attack on Canola Oil is without substance and is a travesty of the truth.
I am satisfied that Canola Oil is an advance in human nutrition and the relatively high levels of omega-3-fatty acids in this oil could be of benefit in promoting health.
In “The Great Con-ola” at the Weston A. Price Foundation, Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon (I don’t know about the credibility of the first, but the second wrote an attack piece on Dr. Loren Cordain which I found…less than rational) say:
Rapeseed oil has been used in China, Japan and India for thousands of years. In areas where there is a selenium deficiency, use of rapeseed oil has been associated with a high incidence of fibrotic lesions of the heart, called Keshan’s disease. The animal studies carried out over the past twenty years suggest that when rapeseed oil is used in impoverished human diets, without adequately saturated fats from ghee, coconut oil or lard, then the deleterious effects are magnified. In the context of healthy traditional diets that include saturated fats, rapeseed oil, and in particular erucic acid in rapeseed oil, does not pose a problem. In fact, erucic acid is helpful in the treatment of the wasting disease adrenoleukodystrophy and was the magic ingredient in Lorenzo’s oil.
High levels of omega-3 fatty acids, present in unprocessed rapeseed oil, don’t pose a problem either when the diet is high in saturates.A 1998 study indicates that diets with adequate saturated fats help the body convert omega-3 fatty acids into the long-chain versions EPA and DHA, which is what the body wants to do with most of the 18-carbon omega-3s.21 Conversion is reduced by 40-50 percent in diets lacking in saturated fats and high in omega-6 fatty acids from commercial vegetable oils (particularly soybean oil). In the animal studies on canola oil, dietary saturated fats mitigated the harmful effects of omega-3s.
Omega-3s are proven good for us!!! If there are harmful effects, I don’t know about them. I’ll have to look into that. Science has found that we are made and conditioned by evolution to eat and live on an omega 3 to omega 6 ratio of about 1:1.