Mayo Clinic Fail on Canola

I came across this article and couldn’t help but notice the dubious wording they use and how their answer goes logically wrong:

I read an article on the Internet that said Canola oil contains toxins that are harmful to humans. Is this true?

First off, the inclusion of phrases like “on the Internet” is meant to discredit the idea before it’s even mentioned and note that Mayo Clinic article itself is “on the Internet”. The phrase “toxins that are harmful to humans” is also suspect. Does that mean it has toxins but they claim they aren’t harmful to us? Does that mean it wasn’t good for the rats but they think this is one the time our anatomies are not analogous? Regardless, they’re trying to make it wordy. The best way to phrase the question would be: “Does Canola oil really contain toxins?”. They use that question as the title, so they should have left it at that. They should also cite the sources of the rumor and confront them explicitly.

The post then goes on to deny this (big surprise) without supporting its claims. Ms. Zeratsky takes out the straw man of erucic acid but neglects to mention the real problem people have with Canola oil. The problem with Canola oil is not directly related to its contents: it’s the problem of rancidity. If it’s highly prone to go rancid and consuming rancid oils is harmful to your health, then Canola oil is not a healthier option, especially for cooking (but isn’t that all you do with it because it doesn’t taste good enough to garnish/drizzle with?).

I know Canola is a brand name that people invested in it want to protect, but in a free market economy if your product isn’t good, your business fails. We’ve chosen in this country to operate that way, to allow competition and uncertainty to drive us after quality. We really need to stop protecting bad ideas and unhealthy food. Even if it is logistically difficult to abandon them, it will be worth it to us in the long run.

2 thoughts on “Mayo Clinic Fail on Canola

  1. You offer no evidence for your first claim, and it reeks of conspiratorial paranoia.

    Second claim about rancidity is also unfounded. All studies conducted have shown that canola oil has a shelf life of about one year at room temperature, which is comparable to many other common cooking oils. Even if the shelf-life of canola was relatively short, which it isn’t, that wouldn’t make canola oil inherently bad. Bread can go bad and harbor dangerous mold and bacteria in a matter of days, yet it’s illogical to conclude that bread is bad, or dangerous to consume.

    There’s no rhyme or reason to anything written here. Stop misleading people with ill-formed opinions.

    • Not conspiracy. Bad science.

      What studies? You haven’t haven’t made any appeal to alternative data so it does not further the discussion.

      The idea is that the oil is sensitive to air, light, and heat yet we don’t act like—and most importantly don’t cook with it—like that’s the case. The main point of this post is that the claim people have against canola is not the issue addressed by the Mayo Clinic article, so the debate is not resolved though they (and you as well) present it that way.

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