Canola oil but not potatoes?

The USDA’s new MyPlate was unveiled this past June.  Certainly this new graphic is more sensible and less frustrating than the crazy rainbow pyramid.  Marion Nestle does a nice deconstructing of MyPlate on her blog.  By “nice” I mean that she basically gives kudos to the USDA for making such a brave change and her quibbles are reasonable.

This week the Harvard School of Public Health introduced its rebuttal to MyPlate. Here it is.  I like the replacement of milk with water.  The Harvard folk aren’t getting pushed around by the dairy industry.  The emphasis on whole grains wins my affection.  But what’s with the bottle of oil on the upper left?  Not only does it look like one should douse their plate o’ food with a little oil, they lump olive oil and canola oil into the same category.  And below the oil bottle we see the legend for vegetables where potatoes once again get shamed.  This baffles me.

I mean, let’s just look at this from a bigger point of view.  You all know how a potato is made.  I have some growing in the dirt of my backyard right now.  Not too hard to figure out.  But do you know how canola oil is made???  Watch!

Just based on “where does it come from?”  and “can you make this in your kitchen”  or even “is it a whole food?”  I just don’t get how they can praise this deodorized, bleached lubricant and demonize a little pomme de terre.  Do you?

16 thoughts on “Canola oil but not potatoes?

  1. Canola is a weed that is easy to grow and hard to get rid off — it is costs the least to make it into oil — so it is a very profitable venue — but it is a very toxic weed to start so you should never ingest it … I’ll stick with coconut oil and olive oil thank you 🙂

  2. I love the part when the talk about the fact that it lowers your cholesterol – while showing someone frying a steak in it. And the part where it’s “treated with “a chemical”” – without giving details. Nasty.

  3. I personally would not count potatoes as veggies either. Potatoes and corn are so starchy that I would serve them in place of grains rather than counting them as vegetables. Also, Americans generally get plenty of potatoes and corn, and not enough dark green, orange, or red veggies.

  4. Finding this website is one of the best things I’ve done on the computer. I haven’t use refined vegetable oil in years, and after watching the video, I never will again. This is the type of information that needs to be shown in nutrition classed in schools.

  5. Wow, quite a contrast between the video on canola oil, and then the following one on olive oil! Ewwww – no canola oil in this house again! Thanks for the info!

  6. Canola oil was originally used for manufacturing purposes. To make it suitable for humans a long chain fatty acid that is poisonous to humans had to bred out of the plant.
    The difference between organic and non-organic seed oils is that the manufacturer is not allowed to treat the seeds with solvent before pressing them. Otherwise the process is pretty much the same.

  7. @greg: Good question. No. Organic canola oil cannot be genetically modified; no organic food can be GMO. Still, canola oil is subjected to a terrible process whether it’s GMO, or not.

    @fancy pancakes: For baked goods, I would use coconut or macadamia nut oil ( I prefer their tastes, for baked goods, over that of olive oil. Both are excellent and healthy oils, and coconut oil has the wonderful benefit of dramatically improving cognitive function, such as in Alzheimer’s patients.

    I noticed the pan they used for the canola video was teflon-coated. This is a big no-no, a carcinogen, especially when it becomes at all scratched and damaged, which these pans inevitably do become, over time. I’ve heard of Scan Pans as a PFOA-free, non-toxic, non-stick alternative (ceramic titanium coated,, but have yet to try them out. For now, I’ll stick with my cast iron, enamel or stainless steel pans.

    Balance is so vital! I think an organic potato or some corn is fine now and then, provided it is organic. Otherwise, they are mostly GMO, especially Corn! GMO foods are full of red flags…

    Many macrobiotic adherents enjoy corn on a fairly regular basis and still heal from moderate health conditions. I do think the organic part is important, however. Here in Austin, we have a wonderful macrobiotic restaurant, Casa de Luz (, that makes organic corn tortillas by hand, for its diners. Yum!

  8. Two things:
    1. I see a lot of people posting based on hearsay. Post facts they help your argument.
    2. As for Canola Oil, I never knew it was made like that. I never used it anyway, because Olive Oil cooks at a lower temp. and it tastes better.

  9. Am I the only one who noticed the 1/3 cup of canola oil that was poured on the salad? Never cared for the taste anyway – now I have a good reason not to consume it. Thanks!

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