Canola was bred from oilseed rape during the 60's by Prof Steffanson at the
university of Manitoba to provide an alternative to wheat for prairie farmers.
It differs from its industrial ancestor (rapeseed) by its lack of two compounds
that are somewhat toxic- Glucosinolate & Erusic acid. All canola varieties
licensed for sale by the Canadian Grain Commission contain zero Glucosinolate &
zero Erusic- hence the term "double zero". Any other varieties must be grown as
industrial rapeseed, usually under contract.
Rapeseed is still grown in Europe & in Asia for human consumption. The old-world
varieties contain varying amounts of both compounds. Glucosinolate in small
amounts, is an irritant rather than a toxin. It it (if I'm not mistaken) the
compound that gives mustard its 'zing'. We don't eat enough of it to do
ourselves any damage although some individuals may be sensitive.
Veg-oil refined from canola is highly mono-unsaturated like olive oil. However,
because canola is so highly unsaturated (~92% as opposed to 85% for olive oil)
it is often partially hydrogenated to give it shelf life in industrial baking &
food processing applications. Persons wishing to limit their consumption of
'trans' fatty acids avoid hydrogenated oils.
A recent Japanese study seemed to conclude that a diet rich in canola oil led to
decreased levels of "good" cholesterols. Efforts to duplicate the study results
at the U of Manitoba were inconclusive.
GM canola is an on-going issue. I use mostly olive oil for all my cooking needs.
Cass Peterson <email@example.com> on 06/07/99 09:04:31 AM
Subject: Rapeseed Oil