Canola Oil in Pet Foods; Is it Healthy?
Many different brands of dog foods and cat foods have chosen to use Canola oil in their products; several even utilize the heart healthy claim provided to Canola oil by the FDA. However, a great deal of research shows Canola oil is anything but healthy.
The FDA provided Canola Oil a ‘heart healthy’ status in 2006. The heart healthy status was petitioned by the U.S. Canola Oil Assn., stating the claim may encourage food manufacturers (and pet food manufacturers) to substitute canola oil for other oils with less favorable nutritional profiles.
The Weston A. Price Foundation, calls Canola ‘The Great Con-ola’. http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/559-the-great-con-ola.html Authors Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD report that Canola Oil was developed because industry needed a cheap source of monounsaturated oils. In the 1980’s, the world was beginning to learn the health benefits of olive oil, yet for industry, there was not enough olive oil in the world to meet need, and olive oil was too expensive to use in most processed foods.
Rapeseed oil, predominately used in China, Japan and India, was a monounsaturated oil option; however, two-thirds of the fatty acids in rapeseed oil are “erucic acid”, associated with Keshan’s disease causing lesions of the heart. Canadian plant breeders developed a genetic manipulation of rape seed that greatly reduced the erucic acid. The new oil was introduced as LEAR oil, for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed.
Realizing ‘rape’ nor ‘lear’ would present a healthy image, industry dubbed the new oil Canola for Canadian oil (most of the new genetically modified rapeseed at the time was grown in Canada). Canada’s Canola Council’s initial challenge was rapeseed was not a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) food in the US. FDA GRAS status was granted in 1985 for Canola oil, for which it is rumored, the Canadian government spend $50 million to obtain.
The Weston A. Price Foundation article quotes numerous studies of the effects of Canola oil in animals; “These studies all point in the same direction–that canola oil is definitely not healthy for the cardiovascular system. Like rapeseed oil, its predecessor, canola oil is associated with fibrotic lesions of the heart. It also causes vitamin E deficiency, undesirable changes in the blood platelets and shortened life-span in stroke-prone rats when it was the only oil in the animals’ diet. Furthermore, it seems to retard growth, which is why the FDA does not allow the use of canola oil in infant formula.”
Journalist David Lawrence Dewey quotes research from the University of Florida that “determined that as much as 4.6% of all the fatty acids in unrefined canola are ‘trans’ isomers (which are somewhat like plastic) due to the refining process.” http://www.dldewey.com/columns/canola.htm Dewey also points out that Canola oil is registered with the EPA as an approved pesticide. http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/ingredients/index_cd.htm#c
Despite an overwhelming amount of research, the FDA, provided the U.S. Canola Association the following health claim permission in October 2006: “Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1 ½ tablespoons (19 grams) of canola oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in canola oil. To achieve this possible benefit, canola oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product contains [x] grams of canola oil.” http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qhccanol.html
Why would pet food companies (and human food companies) promote Canola oil as a healthy option? Authors Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig answer this perfectly; “payola for the food companies and con-ola for the public.”
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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