After a recent US study linked canola oil intake with impaired memory and weight gain, industry stakeholders claim that the research was conducted on mice and provides no evidence of harmful effect in humans.
After a recent US study linked canola oil intake with impaired memory and weight gain, industry stakeholders claim that the research was conducted on mice and provides no evidence of harmful effect in humans. The study, titled “Effect of canola oil consumption on memory, synapse and neuropathology in the triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease,” by Elisabetta Lauretti and Dominico Pratico at Temple University in the US was published in the journal Scientific Reports. Canola oil is extracted from the seed of a yellow flowering plant of the genus brassica belonging to the mustard family. The study linked the consumption of canola oil in the diet with impaired memory, worsened learning ability and weight gain in mice which model Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia.
However, the Canola Council of India (CCI) claims that the paper in the journal did not show any causal link to the disease in humans. It asked consumers to disregard reports of the study purporting to establish that canola oil may be harmful to memory and may cause weight gain.
The Canola Council of Canada too refuted the claims of the Temple University study. “(The) mouse model is a huge stretch from what you may see in humans,” Peter Jones of University of Manitoba in Canada was quoted as saying by the council in a statement. “Animal models of Alzheimer’s lack predictive validity. We have a series of major phase III clinical trials with drugs in Alzheimer’s disease. The drugs ‘worked’ in the animal models but failed in humans,” the council quoted Richard Bazinet, Associate Professor at University of Toronto as saying.
According to the Temple University researchers, long-term consumption of canola oil was not beneficial to brain health. “Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy,” Pratico wrote in the study. Ravinder Pal Singh Kohli, spokesperson of Jivo Wellness, said in a statement that a “scientific rebuttal is being filed by a university-based expert to submit to the Journal that published this study.”
For the Temple University study, researchers used mice genetically engineered mimic Alzheimers in humans, progressing from an asymptomatic phase in early life to full-blown disease in aged animals. Researchers found that the canola oil-fed mice gained weight compared to those fed the control diet.
However, the council quoted Jones as saying that the finding is not surprising given that the canola oil diet was higher in calories than the control diet. “The two diets were not balanced for fat content,” said Jones. “We know that higher fat diets are more palatable and lead to increased food intake and weight gain, which is what happened here,” Jones said.