Canola Oil is Liquid Death


Continuing the discussion from Grapeseed oil: Huge amounts of Omega 6?:

Canola oil is very far from a healthy choice of oil:

I’m not aware of any good studies of the long term effects of canola oil consumption in humans.

I would recommend that instead a healthy oil like coconut, olive, macadamia, palm, or avocado oil be used.

Is Soylent 2.0 cutting corners in nutrient quality?
Concern over canola oil

Very interesting post. I do think animal studies should always be taken with a grain of salt. However, since the same effects were seen in both rats and pigs, I don’t think we should just assume this doesn’t apply to humans.

This can be solved by purchasing cold pressed canola oil since the trans fat is created from the manufacturing proccess.

This was very interesting for three reasons:

  1. The canola oil reduced glutathione. This rightly prompted researchers to blame the bad effects on canola oil increasing the oxidation burden on the rats.
  2. I believe soybean is about 60% polyunsaturated, almost all omega-6. You would think this would cause twice the oxidative burden as canola, which 30% PUFA. Odd…
  3. This article shows a distinct contradiction between what doctors describe as healthy cholesterol, and the actual incidence of mortality.

This seems to say that erucic acid is problematic, at least in rats. This could be a contributor to the results in the other studies, but we can’t say for sure.

This seems to have similar findings to the 1st rat study. Vitamin E stores were likely depleted because they were used up in an effort to combet the oxidation brought on by canola oil.

I urge caution with these findings. We should remember not to jump to conclusions based off small animal studies. However, it is probably not smart to disregard them completely.


True, but only as long as it’s actually cold pressed. In the U.S. there is no guarantee that if the words “cold pressed” are on the bottle then it was actually cold pressed. This is why many people in the U.S. buy cold pressed olive oil that was imported from Europe. Rob would need to make sure the cold pressing process is legitimate for whomever he sources from.


study abstract:

Fully refined rapeseed oils containing different amounts of erucic acid (1.6%, 4.3% and 22.3%) were fed

AFAIK modern seeds used for consumer grade rapeseed oil have no erucic acid anymore. This study is more or less invalid.


Less than 2% erucic acid. Also, most studies on rats tried to extrapolate the findings to humans, except humans digest erucic acid. We’re able to cope with much higher concentrations with little or no ill effect.

Believe me, if canola oil were unsafe, there would be lots of supporting information out there. Scientists are not a unified bunch. Since there’s been no evidence that erucic acid is a problem (and it has been searched for) I wouldn’t be worried about it at all.

Canola oil, in the process used to make it fit for human consumption, gets trans fats reduced to .4%. That’s less than the 1% trans fat in whole milk.


I have to disagree with the above post by @jrowe47. First, with regards to the amount of trans fat in canola oil, you likely got the number 0.4% from the USDA database or a site referencing it. Here is a study on the trans fat %. The results:

The degree of isomerizations of 18:2w6 and 18:3w3 ranged from 0.3% to 3.3% and 6.6% to 37.1%, respectively. The trans contents were between 0.56% and 4.2% of the total fatty acids.

I can find no other study to contradict these findings, and therefore have no qualms believing them. Now obviously, unless someone really loves canola oil, this shouldn’t be an issue. Using even 50ml per day in soylent would only result in about 1g of trans fat. However, nothing to date suggests we should get more than 0.00g for optimal health.

Second, assuming that canola oil is plenty safe just because a faction of food scientist aren’t fussing about it is not the right way to go about things. There was definitely an increase in oxidative burden among the rats and piglets fed canola oil. Of course, we don’t know how this holds up in humans. Even so, why use canola when there are so many other wonderful oils available? As an example my recipe will probably use a combination of High-Oleic Sunflower, Olive, Flax, Coconut and Fish (in caplet of course).


Large scale commercial availability, taste, and cost. The study you keep linking has a paywall, so pfft. Give me something I can read and we can talk about the science. That study you linked to also appears to refer to generic vegetable oils and processing, as opposed to specifically canola oil. I could be wrong, but … "You can purchase online access to this Article for a 24-hour period " pfft. I’m gonna go find someplace to steal it now. And repost it somewhere online. Tax dollars paid for that, it’s got no business behind a paywall.

And assuming that canola oil is plenty safe because I haven’t seen any evidence that it is unsafe is definitely the right way to go about things. I have seen no qualitative evidence that canola oil is in any way dangerous for human consumption.


Wait, you’re just going to completely ignore the evidence because it’s behind a paywall? It’s not like reality is some sort of weird court of law where certain evidence can be thrown out simply because you don’t like the way it was packaged. Furthermore, they provided everything you need to know in the abstract – and the other studies printed the full text.

Yes, putting cheap, untested chemicals in your body because they don’t kill you right away is definitely the right way of doing things.

Oh wait…


They are tested. They’re FDA screened and regularly tested for quality before sale. Quality standards to meet “fit for human consumption” status these days is pretty rigorous.

Show me qualified, specific evidence that canola oil is dangerous in some way, and I’d be more than happy to back you 100%. Give me a study I can read that shows the danger, given a specific metabolic pathway or pathways and the degree and nature of toxicity. From all of the information I could find, freely available, canola oils processed for human consumption are perfectly safe.

It has a great omega profile. It has no trans fats when refined and processed using modern techniques. This is critical because thousands of restaurants depend on its trans fat free status to abide by laws restricting trans fat in food.

Because it’s behind a paywall, I’m “dismissing” it unless and until I have some rational way of verifying it. I would still like to read it and determine it’s relevance on the subject at hand, and that’s why I’m trying to pirate it somewhere. I want to see if the study is applicable and relevant, because I’ve seen so much evidence to the contrary. The constant badgering of various industries by the healthy foods movement has led to some great progress in food standards. It’s important to remember to stop attacking products that have actually come through and met the standards imposed by law.

One of the biggest problems with this discussion is the fact that the opposing science is completely hidden, legally speaking, while there are literally reams of data saying that there’s no problems to be found with canola.

I even see a lot of people out there stating that it’s bad because it’s refined. That mindset just blows me away. I honestly don’t care how my food gets to be food, as long as the end result is healthy.

Modern canola oil has 0% trans fat. Says so on the label. If you have evidence to the contrary, I’d recommend making your way to the nearest FDA/USDA whistleblower hotline and collecting the reward. Also, provide us the brand so we can name and shame the perp.


Umm just real quick: The Nutrition Facts label is not perfect. It allows companies to round up or down. Therefore if one serving of canola oil (or anything) has <.5 grams trans fat, you can list 0. A typical serving is 1 T. However let’s say it’s your primary fat in a non-keto soylent. You might use 4 tablespoons or about 60g and would therefore could theoretically end up with almost two grams of trans fat even though the label says 0. That is why labels go out the window when their is contradictory evidence.


Understood. However, the only study I see making that .5 to 4% claim is the paywalled one, and it’s stubbornly hidden away. I want real analysis of current canola standards. I don’t have any problem changing my opinions. I just need relevant facts to justify the change, and those facts are proving incredibly hard to find.

If canola is bad, then show me. I truly want to know.


I believe you get this from any sort of oil if there is a high enough (too high) amount of PUFAs, see


@jrowe47 Fair enough

@Geroellgeraet Yes, but the interesting factor here is that canola oil taxed the antioxidant capacity of the rats more than soybean oil, which is significantly more PUFA rich. This would seem to suggest (but not prove) another mechanism (at least in rats) by which canola oil effects rats.


Again I have to disagree. While they do test for quality, they don’t adequately test for long term health effects. There is a long list of things the FDA has tested and approved that aren’t healthy. After all, corn oil, soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, etc. are all FDA approved and considered “fit for human consumption” despite being toxic when consumed in substantial quantities on a regular basis.

I see no reason for your optimism, and I have provided plenty of evidence that canola oil is unhealthy and have seen no evidence to the contrary.


No, you havent. I don’t know what you think has happened, but you haven’t given any concrete information relevant to the discussion matter. All you have, and all that seemingly exists, is a single paywalled study on an unspecified type of canola oil almost 20 years ago. There’s no indication of whether it was industrial grade, deep fryer oil, a particular brand, a generic brand, a name brand, etc. Wesson Oils, for example, have higher internal standards than dollar store canola oils. in order for that information to be relevant, it needs to have context.

While I agree that high fructose corn syrup is indeed chronically toxic, that has no bearing on whether canola oil is toxic. You’re absolutely right that this is not a court of law. As such, there’s no guilt by association - USDA and FDA approval simply means it’s not immediately harmful to human health, and doesn’t address chronic toxicity.

I have seen no indication that canola oils are harmful to human health, even in the long term. There are no studies making that statement. There are no studies making the assertion that canola oils are bad for your short term health. Thousands of respected doctors and clinical organizations, up to and including the Mayo Clinic, support canola as a good oil. I can’t in good conscience simply take your word for it that canola oil is bad. Frankly, you’re just some dude on the interwebs. If the best you can come up with is that study, then take your ball and go home - I don’t wanna play anymore.


Also, holy crap. 1994 was 19 years ago?!


The point is that the existence of the study increases the likelihood that the oil @rob is using in Soylent may contain a significant amount of trans fat, and therefore I would like him to be careful. If you want to use Wesson Oils brand canola oil in your cooking, that’s your perogative. You aren’t making anything I’m going to consume.

Right. That was my point exactly. You were using the FDA as your only source of evidence that canola oil is safe for long term consumption.

Without the FDA, all the evidence in this thread supports the proposition that canola oil is unfit for chronic consumption in significant quantities. The evidence might be weaker than we would like, but it is still very much greater than the evidence being offered for its negation, and it is worth the Soylent team taking the time to consider whether or not the canola oil they are using is suitable for our consumption.

I just want everyone to be as informed as possible. If you want to ignore the information I provide, that’s up to you. But I would recommend that the Soylent team, who has the health of thousands of people in their hands and sufficient resources at their disposal, be responsible and investigate this matter thoroughly. They could take the canola oil to a lab and try to reproduce the results of the trans fat study, and/or they can switch to a cold pressed version – and then everyone can be happy.

EDIT: Also I posted more than one study, like this one which showed soybean oil to be superior for rat longevity. Again, this increases the likelihood that canola oil is not a healthy oil.

There is no such thing as perfect evidence, and there is no such thing as a perfect study. What we have here is imperfect evidence that canola oil is unhealthy – which is strong enough, I think, to warrant a great deal of caution if one is to make canola oil the main source of fat in one’s diet.


The evidence might as well be nonexistent since it is out of reach. I cannot and have not seen it, all I have is 2 sentences to go off. I can find lots of 2 sentence refutations of impeccable source, but without any context, my sources are just as good as yours - which is to say, no good at all.

And while I applaud your desire to keep people informed, I have to say that scientific discussion requires laying out all the facts on the table in an open and forthright manner. There have been no facts brought to this particular discussion, other than the generalities we’ve talked about so far.

As to your other study, canola oil still contains erucic acid, which is far more toxic to rats than to humans. Our digestive systems can actually break down minimal amounts of erucic acid without difficulty. Rats on the other hand cannot handle it well at all, so you’d see a skew in the results from that factor alone.

They were not able to definitely attribute the cause of shortened lifespans based on analysis of the oxidative stress levels. Canola in fact proved beneficial in some ways, despite the shortened lifespans, in the reduction of cholesterol levels. They were only able to say that a change in the oxidative status of the system existed, and not able to attribute its source. There were also reference to previous studies on the effects of accumulation of plant sterols.

Canola oil is not a pure substance. It is a graded substance, marketed for sale at varying qualities. Once again, we have a study that doesn’t qualitatively assess the canola oil, but merely refers to its name, as if that is the only qualification needed. Was it 4% erucic acid? Was it 12%, meant for industrial lubrication? Was it .02% ultra fine cold pressed organic?

The study was good. They made all the right measurements and had the right experimental controls. They provide some good data, but it lacks important context, and fails to address a critical difference in human and rat digestion. Rats are generally less able to digest vegetable fats than humans. Vegetable oil, regardless of the source, tends to be pretty bad for rats - it is chronically toxic. Humans, however, have much more robust digestive systems, and are not only able to tolerate vegetable fats, but thrive on them.

I don’t see any evidence, imperfect or otherwise, that canola is unhealthy for human consumption. I agree that with nutrition you should proceed with great caution. I’m not seeing any danger from canola. I’m not even seeing the possibility of danger, yet - if such danger existed, there would be a strident debate occurring in the nutrition science world. Look at the heated back and forth about fructose and HFCS. There is no such canola dialogue among scientists, that I’m able to find - only bloggers and us little people.

I’m really damn good at looking stuff up online, and I’m just not seeing any evidence. I’m seeing a whole lot of hyperbole and link-generating auto spam on blogs, and 99% of them refer to the same 1994 study. 98% of those reference only the abstract. That’s not science, or evidence. That’s sensationalistic capitalization on peoples fears.


I think you are being very unreasonable in your evaluation of the evidence. It’s easy to be a naysayer, much harder to take a stance on something. Do you think we should, or should not, make canola oil our primary source of fat calories in every meal? My stance is that we should not. Do you think that Rob should analyze his canola oil for trans fat? I think that would be very worthwhile.

Again, I think the evidence I have provided is quite significant. But even if there were no evidence one way or the other, if someone were to bring you a substance to eat and told you there was no evidence either way about whether it was healthy or not, would you replace your whole diet with that substance? Would you not recommend that we investigate the matter a little bit further? Again, I’m not sure what course of action you are advocating for.

I’m not so sure about that. And that link doesn’t say anything about humans.

That is very weak evidence. And if we are using your standard, that means it doesn’t count at all.

Again, that constitutes very weak evidence for your position. I’ll bet there are very many substances that are unsafe to eat that do not have any scientific evidence one way or the other.

Nope. Most vegetable oils cause significant oxidative stress and inflammation in humans and are a contributing factor to many of the chronic ailments we face in western civilization. In fact, that’s the whole reason canola oil was created in the first place.


I absolutely think rob should analyze the trans fat content and maintain strict quality controls of not only the oils but every ingredient. And I think that should it prove to have little or no trans fat content, we’ve got nothing to worry about (which I suspect it does, due to stringent legal quality requirements already in place, and modern canola refining methods.)

You’ve so far linked one study which is locked away and thus unsuitable for discussion, unless and until someone can make it public. Your second study is inconclusive, and admits that, and has only mentioned the name “canola oil” in the paper, with no reference to its qualities. We have no way of knowing what type of oil was used, which is hugely significant. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for far stronger evidence before I declare that “Canola Oil is Liquid Death!”

Rat metabolic pathways do not extrapolate to human metabolic pathways 100%. There are some great correlations and they’re great for biological science in general, but there are still significant differences.

Rats are pretty different in some ways. - this last one says that canola oil alone reduces antioxidant status and increase blood lipids. No mention of the source of canola oil or its qualities. No mention as to erucic acid content, method of refinement, or even country of origin.

What I find most disturbing is canola oil (or any food, really) being used in experiments without tight controls and analysis of objective parameters. There appear to be huge variations in canola oil composition and quality. What % of these oils was omega-3? Was this lab grown and tested canola? Is there an academically accepted “standard canola oil” that is just assumed in the study?

I won’t hesitate to support evidence of “bad things” about canola oil. So far there’s a substantiated study that indicates it reduces antioxidant status and increases blood lipids, some of them bad, in a statistically significant way. However, as I said, we don’t know what type of oil was used. We need context before judgment can be passed.