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Nutrition Column

Expeller pressed is all right

The term "expeller pressed" describes the method by which the oil is extracted from the source (in this case the Rapeseed plant, from the mustard family).

You may also see these words prior to olive, corn, and other plant based oils.

Unlike the term, "partially hydrogenated" which is a chemical method used to convert poly-unsaturated fats into semi-solid fat - often primarily trans fats -and should be avoided in the diet, expeller pressed in perfectly fine in that no alteration of the fat occurs.

Getting back to canola oil, its name comes from a combination of Canada and oil, since the major manufacturer and supplier to the world of this genetically engineered plant oil is Canada.

While there has been some debate as to the relative safety and preference over olive oil in a healthy diet most of the potentially harmful components of rapeseed oil (eurcic acid) has been removed. While olive oil is a natural fat high is mono-unsaturated fatty acids (a good fat), both canola and olive oil are low in saturated fats (bad fats).

In addition, canola oil has a high degree of omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial not only for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood and heart disease but also for mental health.

The major concern with canola oil comes with high-temperature cooking (> 240 -280 degrees). But this concern comes from most frying in most oils. The FDA regulates the content of the dangerous eurcic acid in canola oil and it has been placed on the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) list of foods.

If you have any concern over its use, it should not come from the method of extraction (expeller method) but only in cooking at very high temperatures. Using canola oil is salad dressings or for lower-temperature cooking is safe and a healthier option than most other oils and definitely a better option than butter or hydrogenated oils.

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 2.04.06