Adverse Effects of Rapeseed Oil in Foods?
Answered by: Yvonne Tremblay
Question from: Becky Payne
Posted on: February 22, 2007

My question is what is the purpose of rapeseed oil in peanut butter, and have you ever heard of any adverse effects from it? My mother, who is a might loony, says it causes blindness, and brain damage, and when on a visit, threw away all of our peanut butter! Thank you in advance for settling our argument!

Rapeseed oil is also more commonly called canola oil. Canola oil is 61% monounsaturated (olive oil is 75%). It is one of the oils that is highest in omega-3 fat, linolenic acid (11%) which is an essential fat that all humans need and must get from food. Oils are added to peanut butter to help it be more smooth and spreadable as well as more palatable (not stick in your mouth). Freshly ground peanut butter is often very stiff and the oils separate and sit on the top; you have to stir it well to work the oils back in. Some peanut butter also has a bit of sugar added, for flavour. Most people are adding jam on top anyway so why worry about a little sugar in it. I have never heard of those adverse affects you describe. Eating rancid oils might cause some problems, therefore, I recommend that you keep your peanut butter and other oils in a cool place such as the refrigerator. If you have a large family and the p.b. gets eaten quickly, then it is not really an issue. Rancid oils have an off odour, fresh oils should have almost no odour (smell a freshly opened bottle of oil so you know). When exposed to air and heat, oils go oxidize and bad (rancid). It will then impart a bad flavour to your food so best not to use it.

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