Does Canola Oil Belong in a Gout Diet?
In this article, we’re going to give you the straight goods on Canola oil –the good, bad, and the ugly.
Canola oil is a genetically modified oil, produced and marketed by manufacturers as one of the “healthiest” cooking oils to use. However, that is not the case at all –one needs to wonder how the scientific community fails us so on a regular basis with half-baked studies and so-called research.
We did our own research and learned that canola oil is not only bad for your health but for your gout as well. It’s not hard to figure out exactly why Canola is bad for you, there are clues from soil to plate.
Where Does Canola Oil Come From? And How is It Produced?
Before we learn about the dangerous effects of canola oil, let’s take a look at the origins of canola oil. Named after its place of origin (“Can” for Canadian and “ola” for oil), canola oil comes from rapeseeds that were modified to have low levels of erucic acid making it “safe” for human consumption.
It uses a toxic solvent called hexane to extract oil from rapeseed plant. It’s then degummed, neutralized, bleached, winterized, and deodorized. These methods rid the oil of healthy plant compounds, lipid, and waxes. As a result of this highly unnatural processing method, you are left with lots of artificial trans fats which have zero benefit and are extremely harmful.
Since canola oil oxidizes very easily, manufacturers have to add synthetic antioxidants to increase its shelf life. They add antioxidants such as BHT, BHA, TBHQ, which are known to be very dangerous for your health. If consumed for long periods, these preservatives can have toxic effects to the body. Sure, low doses are fine according to the FDA but people are predisposed to consuming more than what they’re allowed.
Also, the fact that canola oil is so highly processed unlike other healthy oils like butter or olive oil should be enough to turn you away from it.
Why Canola Oil is Shady
Take note that canola oil is the same type of oil used to produce candles, lipsticks, lubricants, soap, biofuels, and insecticides. Ever since manufacturers learned how to genetically modify rapeseed oil, they began to market canola oil not just as an edible food product but a healthy one at that! Their claim for this is because canola oil is high in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and low in saturated fats.
It is a common belief that saturated fats are bad while unsaturated fats are good. But recent studies have shown that saturated fat has nothing to do with heart disease. Therefore, its claim as a health food for being low in saturated fat is completely irrelevant.
Another health claim of canola oil is that it’s supposed to lower cholesterol. While it is true that vegetable oils like canola oil decrease cholesterol short-term, studies have shown that they can actually increase your risk for heart problems over the long term.
It’s also very unlikely that the omega-3s found in canola oil are beneficial for you. It mainly contains alpha linolenic acid which is a form of omega-3 that’s not efficiently converted by the body into EPA or DHA. In short, it’s useless!
Omega-3 fatty acids get rancid very easily and by the time it has gone through high heat and questionable chemicals, it’s already converted into trans fats. You just don’t smell it because it’s deodorized. You’re better off eating fish or taking fish oil supplement if you really want to get those beneficial omega-3s.
Negative Side Effects of Canola Oil on Gout & Other Risks
There are no viable studies on genetically modified canola oil yet but there have been many reports of its negative effects on the kidney, liver, and heart. In a study done by the Environmental Sciences Europe, they found female and male mammal’s kidneys and livers to be disrupted as a result of consuming GMO soybeans and corn.
If you have gout, you know all too well how essential liver and kidney function is to manage your condition. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to process uric acid properly and as a result, you experience gout attacks or worse, you develop a condition called tophi wherein deposits of uric acid crystals form into lumps that build up in your joints, skin, and cartilage.
The disproportionate ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, 2:1, in canola oil also worsens your inflammation. A healthier ratio would be 1:1. However, achieving that ideal ratio would be next to impossible considering that canola oil is found in so many processed foods today.
Canola oil has also been found to lead to heart problems due to its high erucic acid content. This type of fatty acid is strongly associated with heart problems, particularly Keshan disease. It increases your risk for coronary heart disease since it causes inflammation and calcification in the arteries.
If your family has a history of hypertension and stroke, avoid canola oil completely. It shortens blood coagulation time and increases the red blood cell membrane’s fragility.
Canola Oil Alternatives
As much as possible, avoid canola oil. Don’t ever use it for cooking or consume it by itself, EVER. There are much more healthier alternatives out there such as olive oil which I prefer. Extra virgin olive oil is a strong anti-inflammatory that helps with up to 100 inflammation causing genes. In one study, it shows having similar potencies as Ibuprofen when it comes to inhibiting pro-inflammatory enzymes and dampening pain sensitivity.
You can use olive oil as dressing for salads, vegetables, and even cooking. Yes, you CAN cook with olive oil. Contrary to popular belief, cooking with extra virgin olive oil is not harmful. Unlike other cooking oils, it does not oxidize as much and remains stable even when under high heat for long periods of time.
Be sure to check the label when purchasing extra virgin olive oil especially if you’re in the US. Most manufacturers use the term “extra virgin” loosely unlike in Europe where regulations for labels are very strict. Look for the labels “COOC” (California Olive Oil Council),”D.O.P”/”D.P.O” (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta) , “D.O” (Denominacion de Origen), or “A.O.C.” (Appellation D’origine Controlée) on the label.
To help manage your gout effectively, get rid of canola oil completely from your diet and replace with healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil. Check your pantry and throw any canola oil in the trash! Also, check food labels carefully and avoid eating processed foods whenever you can. Unfortunately, many processed foods have canola oil as a leading ingredient. Having gout attacks is already bad enough as it is. Why screw up your body chemistry when you can have healthier alternatives that are just as accessible as canola oil?