Canola oil is a common substitute oil when cooking, with many thinking it is a healthier alternative to other types of oils. While marketed as a healthier oil, very little research has been done to show its health benefits until now.
A new study evaluating the health benefits of canola oil found that it actually has detrimental effects on health and memory in mice who had Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more about the study, its findings and how you can substitute other oil for canola oil in cooking.
Canola Oil Leads to Alzheimer’s Symptoms, Weight Gain in Mice
In a study from Temple University, researchers found that canola oil inhibited memory, learning ability and led to weight gain for mice who had Alzheimer’s. The study was published in December 2017 in Scientific Reports. Researchers used genetically engineered mice with Alzheimer’s disease and split them into two groups at six months old before signs and symptoms of the disease began. The control group was fed a standard diet and the experimental group received a supplement of two tablespoons of canola oil daily.
After six months of the study, the research team noticed that the experimental group that received canola oil daily weighed more than the control group. Additionally, cognitive tests found that learning ability, short-term memory and working memory were all negatively affected in the mice that received canola oil.
Further testing also found that the mice who received the canola oil supplement had less amyloid beta 1-40, a protein that protects from other, harmful beta-amyloid associated with Alzheimer’s. Study co-author Dr. Domenico Praticò from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University explains, “Amyloid beta 1-40 neutralizes the actions of amyloid 1-42, which means that a decrease in 1-40, like the one observed in our study, leaves 1-42 unchecked. In our model, this change in ratio resulted in considerable neuronal damage, decreased neural contacts, and memory impairment.”
Finding Healthier Alternatives to Canola Oil
Canola oil is one of the most widely consumed vegetable oils in the world and has been marketed as the healthier alternative to other kinds of oils yet little research has been done to actually determine its health benefits. The oil is low in saturated fat and even been shown to reduce cholesterol levels.
Praticò explains, “Canola oil is very appealing because it is less expensive than other vegetable oils, and it is advertised as being healthy. Very few studies, however, have examined that claim, especially in terms of the brain.”
Scientists plan on doing more research to determine how canola oil affects the brain and test if the negative effects of canola oil are specific for Alzheimer’s disease. Praticò believes there could be a chance that consuming canola oil could affect the onset and pathology of other neurodegenerative diseases and dementia.
Healthy alternatives to canola oil for cooking include:
- Avocado oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Sunflower oil
All of those oils have higher smoke points. Be wary of olive oil, however, which is not meant for high-temperature cooking.
Have you seen a correlation between Alzheimer’s symptoms and canola oil? Will you stop using canola oil in your cooking? We’d like to hear your stories and thoughts in the comments below.