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Author Topic: Canola Oil? No thank you.  (Read 178036 times)

Offline Total-Amateur

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« Reply #75 on: 06/10/2009 16:03:28 »
Well, if it were so great, there wouldn't be a whirlwind of controversy over its safety. Again, it's one of these issues where the evidence for both sides is unclear. Check out this blog: newbielink:http://www.thatdanny.com/2008/06/25/is-aspartame-safe-an-unbiased-review-of-aspartame-information/ [nonactive]

I couldn't have said it better myself, I simply don't know what to believe anymore. Ha ha.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #76 on: 06/10/2009 18:46:07 »

"I do know how to think critically, and how to give weight to arguments, and to make an informed decision."

OK, you say you can think critically and come to an informed decision yet you accept that , at this time, you are uninformed "I'm not a scientist. (Hence, the username.) " yet you voice an opinion.
Unfortiunately, that opinion doesn't tally with reallity.

""Every time I've heard of genetically modified anything, it always follows the same formula: At first, it's a miracle product, then some scientists do some studies on it, and later, it's proven to be bad for you in one way or another. I remember back in the early 80's when everyone was so hip on NutraSweet. And we all know how that turned out."
Two points strike me as important here.
Firstly there simply isn't any real evidence for harm from GM materials (I'm not saying they are witout risk- just that so far we seem to have controlled that risk)
Secondly you muddle up GM with neutrasweet.
That makes as much sense as saying "GM is bad because theu used to put lead in petrol".


You say that "And the conclusion I have come to is this: Since it is a genetically modified product, I am going to avoid it, until I see a properly documented, peer-reviewed study on its long-term effects that says different."

Well you are going to wait a long time. On the other hand you can look at one of the world's biggest experiments.
In the real world people have been eating GM crops for years. There has yet to be any real problem of safety (there have been some serious cockups about other aspects of it).

The "peers" reviewing this are American ambulance-chasing lawyers. Now, it's fair to say that my opinion of the morallity of this group isn't generally high, but that's not the point. They are good at their job. If there had been a single case of anyone proven to have been harmed by these materials they would have sued for punitive damages and bankrupted the GM organisations.

Those organisations are still in business.

What more proof could a bunch of lab experiments offer?
(Incidentally- the lab experiments were done first, of course, and they didn't offer any evidence of a problem)

Lets sum that up; you say
"I do know how to think critically,"
and
"But the GMO thing sealed it for me. There is too much evidence out there that modifying food on the genetic level is (at the very least) unpredictable, not to mention dangerous."

OK, cite the evidence.

Sorry to have to tell you this (and I know it's partonising) but, unless you actually understand the science, you are not in a position to think critically about the issues.
If you don't understand that I have seen someone assay canola oil and I know it doesn't contain the toxic chemicals that industrial rapeseed does so it doesn't constitute a toxicity hazard then you are missing the point.
Also  most technology works just fine yet you say "Every time I've heard of genetically modified anything, it always follows the same formula: At first, it's a miracle product, then some scientists do some studies on it, and later, it's proven to be bad for you in one way or another. I remember back in the early 80's when everyone was so hip on NutraSweet. And we all know how that turned out." once again, you just haven't noticed what's really happening.
 

Offline raptorguy

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« Reply #77 on: 11/11/2009 02:29:19 »
Our family is health conscious.

Canola oil is our first choice of cooking oils.

 We use olive oil sometimes as a sprinkle on salads. Olive oil has quite a bit more saturated fat than canola and becomes unstable in light and under moderate heating temperatures.

 Sunflower and Corn oils are also better choices (at least for our family) than olive oil for cooking.

 
 

Offline elementaljoe

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« Reply #78 on: 06/01/2010 22:05:37 »
We live in an astonishingly informed age, with data available as it has never been before in recorded history. The challenge is in determining which is pertinent to the situation, and then which is actually correct.

I'd already studied most of the sites that have been referred months ago. Clearly, like Miriam's grammar, lexicon, and style, different sources are less attractive than others, and have fewer references to support their statements. But does that mean they are wrong? With enough "support," OJ and Rodney King's abusers both got off, and Bush Jr. won two elections.

To the point... I no longer eat canola oil. It may be perfectly harmless. When it can be purchased in a relatively unrefined form, I suppose it may be the most economical high heat oil, though that hasn't been my observation, and without the refinement, it no longer has so high a smoking temperature. The problem I have with it is that the public awareness program that the Canadian government crafted to sell the oil was exceptionally well-funded, with a capital E. Billions of dollars, many billions of dollars were at stake, perhaps trillions in time, and we're all sitting here thinking that with a few clicks of our mouses we'll get the truth.

Under these circumstances, with such vast profits at stake, the information available to me is utterly insufficient. The references presented throughout this chain simply cannot be trusted. The whole truth is very easy carve into pieces and obfuscate with other data and rhetorical methods, and that's only if the research was ever done honestly, or allowed to be done. Even if some of you are very serious chemists, the research you would have to do to determine falsification of data surely demands too much of your life, and still might be impossible. Science is more about skepticism than agreement. And you'd be making a serious enemy of the Canola industry.

What you can trust is traditional cuisine, produced and processed as hundreds, even thousands of years of trial, effort, and actual human nutrition determined. The further away from that you go, the more risk you take. The more profit there is in presenting a new product, or processing method, the less you can trust so much as a single word. You may be rewarded, but in the case of canola oil, modified rapeseed oil, the money will do the talking, not some ethical consideration about the peon consumer's health. Eat unrefined oils, traditional ones, and don't make'em smoke. Ignore the mountains of hype.

Or support agribusiness -- Monsanto et al. Your choice.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #79 on: 07/01/2010 19:37:20 »
"and we're all sitting here thinking that with a few clicks of our mouses we'll get the truth."
No, I think that my mate putting some through a GC/MS got the truth.
Do you have any scientific evidence to gainsay this?
When you say "The references presented throughout this chain simply cannot be trusted."
is it me you are calling a liar, or my colleague?

Re "Even if some of you are very serious chemists, the research you would have to do to determine falsification of data surely demands too much of your life, and still might be impossible."
I think it was about half an hour of machine time. The point is that it showed that the manufacturers were telling the truth. Why don't you accept that?

Incidenatlly, please make up your mind. Plenty of traditional food is fried in oil so hot it smokes yet you say we shouldn't heat oil that hot, but we should eat traditional food.

Anyway, unless you happen to have the time on your hands, the idea of spending "traditional" amounts of time cooking is a non-starter.
Oh, and while I'm at it, do you plan to recompense people for the expense of following your sugestion?
Canola is a lot cheaper than olive oil.
Personally I use olive oil (or groundnut or sunflower or hempseed depending on what I'm cooking) because I like the taste. I'm lucky- I can afford to do that. Not everyone can, so why tell them they are harming themselves by using canola when there's no basis for that assertion?

Oh, btw, you seem to have missed something. It was lawyers who got OJ off and re-elected Bush, not scientists.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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« Reply #80 on: 08/01/2010 16:54:50 »
Well, if it were so great, there wouldn't be a whirlwind of controversy over its safety. Again, it's one of these issues where the evidence for both sides is unclear. Check out this blog: http://www.thatdanny.com/2008/06/25/is-aspartame-safe-an-unbiased-review-of-aspartame-information/

I couldn't have said it better myself, I simply don't know what to believe anymore. Ha ha.


The link you cite does not seem to look at any of the actual studies on aspartame at all, rather just the political controversy. When there is controversy over something it can give off the false impression that both sides of the argument have equal merit, however among scientists it is well accepted that aspartame is safe.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12180494
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame#Safety_controversy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame_controversy

Yes i'm sorry for talking about aspartame and going off track from canola oil, but it seemed necessary to point out that to claim canola oil is poisonous is using the same flawed logic as claiming aspartame is poisonous. There's no actual scientific backing for either stance.
« Last Edit: 01/02/2010 13:31:22 by Madidus_Scientia »
 

Offline elementaljoe

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« Reply #81 on: 10/01/2010 17:36:42 »
Replies to bored chemist:

What I said was clear. Not a single one of your responses is meaningful when viewed through any other lens than that of an overly simple chemist who interprets all things through a clever fourteen year old's interpretations of rationality, politics, and knowledge itself. Your responses in general reveal a  small ego  supporting itself with boorish, unkind, and selfishly slanted certainty bolstered with shallow  if sharp intellect.

Any more communication with you would be useless, because you aren't really about understanding. You are about aggrandizing yourself.

I stand by every word I wrote. When your spirit has become positive, I may waste another second engaged with you.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #82 on: 10/01/2010 18:53:32 »
Replies to bored chemist:

What I said was clear. Not a single one of your responses is meaningful when viewed through any other lens than that of an overly simple chemist who interprets all things through a clever fourteen year old's interpretations of rationality, politics, and knowledge itself. Your responses in general reveal a  small ego  supporting itself with boorish, unkind, and selfishly slanted certainty bolstered with shallow  if sharp intellect.

Any more communication with you would be useless, because you aren't really about understanding. You are about aggrandizing yourself.

I stand by every word I wrote. When your spirit has become positive, I may waste another second engaged with you.
LOL
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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« Reply #83 on: 11/01/2010 08:42:35 »
lol

Why do some people take being shown the fallacies of their argument as a personal insult? I thank people when they show me how I am wrong.
 

Offline BenV

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« Reply #84 on: 11/01/2010 10:40:24 »
I'm glad that Bored Chemist can see the humour in such a blatant and uncalled for personal attack.

Elementaljoe - attacks like that are not acceptable on this forum.  Please be more civil in future.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #85 on: 11/01/2010 12:11:39 »
« Last Edit: 11/01/2010 12:13:57 by Bored chemist »
 

Offline elementaljoe

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« Reply #86 on: 11/01/2010 18:11:06 »
Reply to Bored Chemist:

Actually, I wasn't attacking ad hominem. I was describing precisely the niche that your arguments fill. We have been trying to speak to a question that exists in more than the chemist's realm, ie. "Is Canola oil actually a healthy oil." To answer such a question, one needs to be far more than a chemist, even were he poised at the cutting edge of the field.

As for my attitude, and your nobler than Thou self-righteousness, I might think it worth a second of my respect, except that you were unnecessarily snide to Miriam, from the get go. Rather than correct her gently, or stretch yourself even a little to understand the points she was trying to make, you took advantage of your greater expertise and experience with language to belittle her. Yes, you actually are a chemical technician -- I can't speak to the depth of your commitment to scientific method, especially with you so very certain of so many things you simply could not know, and could never prove. Yes, you write fairly well in English. So what. You are unkind, and your over-certainty is not to be trusted.

Again, I stand by my words. I wouldn't have answered, you seem too certain in your arrogance to hear anything, but others supported you, and I thought i'd respond to them.
 
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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« Reply #87 on: 11/01/2010 18:34:36 »
I think if miriam began the thread with some sensitivity of her own by asking the question "Is canola oil poisonous?" and then proceeded to stimulate discussion on the matter by asking if what she had been told was actually true or not, she would have been met with the sensitivity you spoke of.

But that's not what happened, she started with a blatant assault on the truth and refused to hear any different. This kind of attitude is not really conductive to pleasant conversation.

Quote
"Is Canola oil actually a healthy oil." To answer such a question, one needs to be far more than a chemist

Actually the original allegation is that it contained a certain poison. Is a chemist not qualified to tell us whether a liquid contains a chemical or not?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #88 on: 11/01/2010 19:10:18 »


Again, I stand by my words.
 
This is a scientific website. It's not enough to say that you stand by your words.
You need to be able to answer criticism of your ideas, even if you don't like the way that the criticisms are raised.

There were two assertions of toxic chemicals in canola, mustard gas and erucic acid.
The presence of mustard gas is absurd- it's not stable in water and it's an organochlorine compound. They are essentially unheard of in natural products.
The second one is the erucic acid. Well, as I said, there used to be lots but the ran a selective breeding product and now there's practically none. This is not just "propaganda" from the manufacturer. I saw someone do the analysis.

So, once again...
do you have any evidence to gainsay this?


I note from your rant that you think I have a poor grasp of the scientific method.
If you ask 10 scientists what the "scientific method" is you will probably get a dozen answers but I'm pretty sure most would agree that it involves actually doing research (rather than just copying stuff from other websites) and being prepared to stop "standing by your words" if the research shows them to be wrong.
Well, I'm a research scientist (not as you blindly assert a chemical technician) and I have done some real research (I looked at the data my colleague had generated as part of some research into biodiesel).

What have you done?

How many people need to eat canola for how many years without any ill-effects before you change your dogmatic stance and accept that there's absolutely no valid evidence to say it does any harm.
That's the point at which you adopt the scientific method.

Oh, BTW, since I studied chemistry with pharmacology and I work in the field of industrial toxicology (for HMG) I think I might be adequately informed to answer the question "Is Canola oil actually a healthy oil." and the answer is that it's not clearly better or worse than other oils.
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #89 on: 11/01/2010 22:17:02 »
Actually, I wasn't attacking ad hominem.
 

My goodness! In that case I'd prefer that you don't start. I suspect the vitriol (I don't think that's in canola either BTW) would burn a hole in my monitor.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #90 on: 12/01/2010 19:50:26 »
My guess is that he's using some other definition of ad hom.
Of course, I can't rule out an explanation involving him being a liar, an idiot, or both.

Still, it seems that his idea of science is to refuse to talk to people so I guess we won't here from him again.
 

Offline CurLz

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« Reply #91 on: 13/01/2010 21:40:23 »
Oh my goodness,
you guys have been debating this since 2008!

Haha, it's slightly amusing to think that a discusion about oil could go on for so long.

Anyway, I read over most of what was said and I agree with Bored chemist on practically everything.
Way to stick it out Bored chemist!

In the name of Canola Oil,
Goodnight.  :)
 

Offline NothaShrubry

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« Reply #92 on: 31/01/2010 15:34:14 »
Hi...

I just ran across this thread by accident, as of Total-Amateur. I was trying to find out where to buy canola oil, since I had never heard of it before, in order to homemake soy creamer (which appears not be available in the UK, certainly not in Oxford), in order to home make vegan ice cream. God knows why. I'm not even a vegan. I tell you this to make it clear that I am approaching the topic with no preconceived ideas about canola oil and entirely sifting the evidence put before me.

I just read the whole thread. It was fascinating. I'm very impressed with Bored Chemist's arguments, although occasionally very savage.

BC, what is your level of chemistry? I am a current 3rd year undergraduate at Oxford uni. I should now be reading about Advanced NMR, but do not want to.

Let me clarify a few things I have understood from the discussion board.

*Dangers of canola oil*
- It's an oil. Oil contains fats which can be bad for you if you consume disproportionate quantities.
- It is GM. Some people hold reservations about GM products either because of religious values or because they feel the background to the science is improperly understood. I would argue that we don't understand much about science at all in most areas, but continue to manufacture all kinds of things from what we do know/can do; providing that GM crops are sufficiently tested (which they have to be to be put on sale), they're no more dangerous than ordinary crops.
- Trans fats appear in canola oil in negligible amounts. Yes, trans fats are bad, but unless you intend to live off canola oil, they won't affect you (besides if you did do this, I think point 1 would tell).

*Myths*
- Mustard is the same as mustard gas. As made very clear, mustard gas is a manufactured product and mustard is a natural product of similar smell. That is their only similarity. Rape comes from the mustard plant family.
- Canola oil contains toxins. Rapeseed oil does, canola is a GM safe version.


Anyway, anyone who aspires to be a chemist needs to start by dismissing initial prejudices. Let us say, we discover something DOES contain poison. We next need to ask, will it harm me? Sounds like an obvious connection, yes it does because poison is harmful, but it is not always the case. Poisons are only harmful or toxic in large enough quantities. Whilst some poisons can build up over time, others do not.

Everything is chemicals and everything is toxic in large enough quantities. The research into dihydrogen monoxide is an example of exactly the sentiment and the way people respond to selectivity of information. Would you not drink from a ceramic mug because toilets are also sometimes made of ceramic materials? In my opinion, it is important to determine the dangers of the individual item, rather than allow it to become confused with social understandings of similar things - such is the mustard gas confusion.

Anyway, if I have said anything controversial feel free to correct me. At least my spelling and grammar is decent :P. I had a phone call half way through so I may have slightly lost my thread. I think I was going to say something vaguely scientific about the toxicology of potatoes, but it has alas departed.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #93 on: 31/01/2010 16:59:49 »
I'm not sure but I think if you buy cheap cooking oil described as "vegetable oil" without saying exactly what it is then it will be canola or something like it.
Not that it matters much but canola isn't GM; it was produced by conventional breeding.

Incidentally a long while ago I too was a 3rd year undergrad at Oxford doing chemistry. I spent a 4th tear doing some strange research about fluorescence half- lives. I was back in the city again last September to celebrate my college's 500th birthday.

It's a fairly common observation that if potatoes were discovered today they wouldn't be permitted as human food because they contain solanine which is toxic.
What's often overlooked is that if mankind had followed the much talked about "precautionary principle" form the beginning we would still be in the trees.
 

Offline NothaShrubry

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« Reply #94 on: 31/01/2010 18:03:59 »
Ah, the GM point was one someone made earlier which I naively assumed to be true since it was not directly challenged. Although I did skim a few sections, so perhaps I just missed it.

I think that sunflower oil is usually cheaper than vegetable oil...

Without doing extensive research, I'm not sure which college has just turned 500 - mine certainly hasn't; it's only started admitting men in the last 16 years! But why fluorescence half-lives? I really must question your wisdom as you have aroused terrible memories of first year compulsory PTCL labs. I'm going to do a solid state project.

How toxic is solanine? I mean, I always hear warnings about raw potatoes, but people also go completely nuts over eating dirt and raw eggs: both things I have consumed my whole life, and which the popularity of brown sugar and mousse rather contradict.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #95 on: 31/01/2010 19:04:32 »
I don't think my employer would altogether agree with some of my views. I tend not to give out too many details on websites (and that's why I use a pseudonym). If I say I was near Lincoln then that should help you work it out without putting anything here that would help any automated searching. (If you want to check you can always PM me)
My part II project, had it worked better, would have led to an undergrad practical measuring half lives; just think- you might have been expected to do it. It looked like an interesting challenge; it was, which is why it didn't really work.

I'm not sure how toxic solanine is; a bit of googling would probably get an answer but I heard that there's roughly enough in a coffin full of potatoes to kill you.
 

Offline BenV

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« Reply #96 on: 11/02/2010 10:20:02 »
How toxic is solanine? I mean, I always hear warnings about raw potatoes, but people also go completely nuts over eating dirt and raw eggs: both things I have consumed my whole life, and which the popularity of brown sugar and mousse rather contradict.

This has piqued my interest, and sorry to go off topic, but I always assumed that brown sugar was sugar without the molasses removed - what does it have to do with dirt?
 

Offline NothaShrubry

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« Reply #97 on: 11/02/2010 10:23:16 »
Molasses are a by-product. They're just a contaminate. Chemical "dirt".

If you have lots they can make it more syrupy, but then if you mix two random different chemicals you'll tend to change their physical properties by varying proportions.
 

Offline BenV

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« Reply #98 on: 11/02/2010 10:49:43 »
Okay - I think my brain had interpreted 'dirt' as 'soil' - not that I have any particular problem with soil, I'd just never thought of demerara as being muddy sugar!
 

Offline NothaShrubry

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« Reply #99 on: 11/02/2010 13:01:39 »
Well, isn't soil just a lot of mixed up waste mineral products?
 

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