Episode 42

Canola Oil is Healthy and Inexpensive

Published on: 13th December, 2023

Canola Oil is Healthy and Inexpensive

Did you ever notice there are those people who will tell you how everything is bad for you? Don't eat this and don't eat that?

They make grand assertions about the modern food system. Often claiming we should return to the age of the caveman. Assuming that health will return when we eat what our ancestors ate.

The Logical Fallacy of Ancestral Diets / and Humans

Proponents of ancestral diets are confused by the logical fallacy called a biotruth.

What is a biotruth? An argument based upon a misunderstanding of natural selection or the evolutionary process. Usually combined with the conclusion that if it was good enough for primitive man, it should be true for now. Ultimately, we forget that primitive man did not have an easy life.

Canola Oil Podcast Transcript

Canola oil is today's topic because not everyone wants to buy expensive olive oil. When I mention canola oil on TikTok, the comments go like this:

  • Canola oil was "meant" to be motor oil
  • It comes from the rapeseed plant
  • It is a GMO-crummy oil
  • Chemically extracted with hexane and it can turn rancid and create trans-fats

Are those claims valid? Should we avoid Canola oil? Must we avoid Canadians in general?

Today on Fork U

We will make sense of the madness that is Canola oil. Is it an evil plant that is only good to make oil for your car, truck, or tank? Or is it a reasonable oil for your body?

I'm Dr. Terry Simpson, and this is Fork U

Fork University

Where we make sense of the madness

Bust a few myths

And teach you a little bit about food as medicine.

What is Canola Oil?

Canola oil was invented in the 1970s in Canada and is an acronym that stands for Canadian oil's low acid.

Canola comes from the pressed seeds of rapeseed plants. Granted, that is an unfortunate name. However, not if you know its epistemology.  Rapeseed comes from the Latin rapa, which translates to "turnip." Thus this flowering plant is a member of the turnip, cabbage, and mustard family.

Latin just isn't taught anymore. But if you think of Rome often, as we men do, Latin might be the new language for you.

Speaking of Mustard, did you ever wonder why we don't have mustard oil in the United States? Primarily Erucic acid.

Erucic Acid

Erucic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid that is associated with heart disease. In some poorly done experiments in rats, they seemed to have higher levels of heart disease. Rats, not politicians. But the healthy kind of rats you find in sewers, not the vermin found in Washington, DC.

Erucic acid is why you don't find mustard seed oil in the United States. Those who travel to India will experience delicious foods cooked in mustard oil. But don't fear. It will be just fine (ref).

In fact, erucic acid decreases the rate of some progressive brain diseases and is being examined to treat cancer and other diseases.

Rapeseed Oil as a lubricant

Because of the high erucic acid content, rapeseed oil was originally used as an industrial lubricant. Some rapeseed was cold pressed, seeds gathered, pressed, and not heated, and the oil extracted. This has been used as a cooking oil for years, but there was concern regarding the erucic acid content.

Canadians Hybrids

Canadian scientists began to crossbreed the rapeseed with wild cabbage to lower erucic acid. The seeds of this new hybrid plant became the Canola oil. Later, this plant was genetically modified to withstand Round Up. Hence, it is a genetically modified plant (ref).


As someone who has published about genetic engineering, I find the fear of GMOs to be a fear of the unknown. Modifying genes is what humans have been doing for centuries. Hence, using laboratory techniques is simply faster than cross-breeding. Still, GMOs are a major cause of heartburn for the latte-sipping English major.

It is human studies that are the gold standard for how a food behaves. Not where it came from or what it has been used as.

Lyon The Gastronomic Capital of France

Let us begin in Lyon, France. The capital of fine dining in the world, home of restaurants with over twenty Michelin stars.

But Lyon? Home of butter? What happens when we take people with heart attacks from Lyon and ask them to change their diet?

There was a seventy-five percent lower incidence of cardiac deaths in patients with a first heart attack who modified their diet to a Mediterranean-style diet.

What was the main change? Well, they wanted the French to go from butter to olive oil, but alas, that was not popular. The French, other than those who reside in the Rivera, do not find olive oil attractive. But the French had no trouble adopting canola oil.

Canola oil was provided as both a cooking oil and a margarin to spread on their famous French bread.

Mediterranean Diet

Other changes they adopted included:

  1.  consume whole grains rather than refined grains,
  2. to have fish more than beef,
  3. and to never go a day without fruit.

In the first year, the canola group had 73% less risk of having a second heart attack or dying from heart disease. After several years, the final paper (referenced here) showed a similar risk reduction.

Implementing the Mediterranean Diet

One of the great conclusions of the Lyon heart study was that adopting the Mediterranean-style diet was not that difficult for these patients. While some doctors might give up, this one dietary change had as much influence as controlling blood pressure in patients with clinically active heart disease.

Other Human Studies?

Nine studies showed that patients consuming canola oil had lower LDL cholesterol. The higher the LDL, the more heart disease a person is likely to have, as well as strokes and peripheral vascular disease.


In spite of what the shirtless salesmen of supplements and scams want to tell you, the human trials show:

  • Canola oil is not toxic to humans
  • Canola oil improves biomarkers for the heart
  • Canola oil improves insulin levels.
  • Canola oil over butter and cream is one factor leading to less heart disease in patients with coronary artery disease.

Canola Oil is Not Toxic to Humans

  • Lab studies of people improve when consuming canola oil over saturated fat, butter, or beef tallow.
  • Insulin levels are decreased - which is good - with canola oil
  • And as in Lyon, while the butter is delicious, those who consume canola oil have fewer problems with their heart.

Implementing the Mediterranean Diet

If you want to implement the Mediterranean diet into your life, why not do what they did in Lyon?

If you cannot afford olive oil, use canola oil to cook with. It has fewer trans fats than tallow, lard, butter, or coconut oil and has a neutral flavor.

Make sure to have a fruit every day or two.

Use whole grains in your diet, be that for bread or just grains with your meals. Whole grains contain a lot of fiber.

New Course Coming

Thank you for listening to this edition of our series on how to adopt the Mediterranean Diet. We will have a course put together soon about adopting the Mediterranean diet, and you can find out when by listening to this podcast or signing up for my newsletter on terrysimpson.com. You can also follow me on TikTok, where I am @drterrysimpson.

Check out the blog associated with this - either yourdoctorsorders.com or forku.com.

This podcast was researched and written by me, Dr. Terry Simpson. While I am a real medical doctor, board-certified, I am not your doctor. Before making dietary changes, please check with a real, board-certified western-trained physician. Not an Eastern medicine doctor, not a witch doctor, not a chiropractor, not a naturopath.

Distribution and audio editing were done by my friends at Simpler Media - run by the pod god Evo Terra and his most able assistance. Thank you, Allie.

Hey Evo - in the interest of research, we need to go to the Mediterranean - by way of Lyon.

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About the Podcast

Fork U with Dr. Terry Simpson
Learn more about what you put in your mouth.
Fork U(niversity)
Not everything you put in your mouth is good for you.

There’s a lot of medical information thrown around out there. How are you to know what information you can trust, and what’s just plain old quackery? You can’t rely on your own “google fu”. You can’t count on quality medical advice from Facebook. You need a doctor in your corner.

On each episode of Your Doctor’s Orders, Dr. Terry Simpson will cut through the clutter and noise that always seems to follow the latest medical news. He has the unique perspective of a surgeon who has spent years doing molecular virology research and as a skeptic with academic credentials. He’ll help you develop the critical thinking skills so you can recognize evidence-based medicine, busting myths along the way.

The most common medical myths are often disguised as seemingly harmless “food as medicine”. By offering their own brand of medicine via foods, These hucksters are trying to practice medicine without a license. And though they’ll claim “nutrition is not taught in medical schools”, it turns out that’s a myth too. In fact, there’s an entire medical subspecialty called Culinary Medicine, and Dr. Simpson is certified as a Culinary Medicine Specialist.

Where today's nutritional advice is the realm of hucksters, Dr. Simpson is taking it back to the realm of science.

About your host

Profile picture for Terry Simpson

Terry Simpson

Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate, graduate, and medical degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. Until he found he liked people more than petri dishes. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2018 and 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.”