Muscle Sport Magazine

Simplifying Science: Be Careful What You Cook With

Courtesy of Nathan Jendrick, Flickr/Labeled For Reuse

By Nathan Jendrick – Simplifying Science is a new column from author, coach and trainer Nathan Jendrick, written with a goal of breaking down new research into an easy-to-understand, quick read.

The journal Scientific Reports recently released findings that mice regularly consuming canola oil developed significantly increased levels of amyloid plaques in the brain, had significantly reduced levels of amyloid beta 1-40 and were found to have increased body weights.

Put simply: Canola oil consumption was linked with decreased memory and slower brain response. To make matters worse, canola oil-fed mice added significant amounts of body fat compared to their canola oil-free counterparts.

Now, let’s face the obvious and note that mice aren’t men (or women), of course. But over the course of history we have learned a lot about our own physiology based on what happens in test animals, so the findings here could have considerable impact on your own health and well-being.

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Researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University had previously found that extra virgin olive oil caused test mice to have improved memory abilities and sharper cognitive function. Since canola oil is often touted as a healthy alternative to other oil options, researchers wanted to see if the benefits extended to it as well.

What they found, perhaps surprisingly, is that canola oil not only didn’t stack up to the olive oil benefits, but it caused significant problems in the brain and beyond.


In a 12-month study of two groups of mice—one fed canola oil and the other not—the oil-fed group had notable negative effects within just the first few months. These deleterious effects included weight gain, problems with learning, poor short-term memory and a decline in working memory. Later exams of brain tissue from the group also found lower levels of amyloid beta 1-40, which helps protect against amyloid beta 1-42, which is exactly what increased in the oil-fed brains and contributes to plaque buildup. The science goes much deeper, but this new column is about making things simple, so let’s just appreciate the fact that nothing good came about for the mice chosen to receive the canola oil diet.

Canola oil is often advertised as healthy due to it comprising almost entirely of unsaturated fats, but this new research may have you reconsidering what you cook with. If nothing else, this is certainly “food for thought.”

While bodybuilders in general tend to shy away from calorie-rich oils, the off-season often sees athletes taking liberties with their diets. If that’s you, this type of research might be worth following to see if you want to stay away from canola oil all year long.


Nathan Jendrick is the author of many books, including Gym-Free and Ripped, Gym-Free and Toned and Gregg Valentino’s Death, Drugs & Muscle. Find his books here:

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  1. Pingback: Alcohol is Damaging Your DNA and Probably Killing You | Muscle Sport Magazine

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