What's the Deal with Avocado Oil Mayo?

You may be hearing the buzz that avocado oil mayo is better for you than traditional mayo.  And that’s true.  But not all avocado oil mayo is created equal.

 First, let’s go over why it matters.  Mayonnaise contains oil.  There is nothing wrong with eating oil.  Our bodies need fats for a variety of reasons.  Our very cell walls are made of fat.  We need fat in our diets to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K).  And our bodies use fats to make hormones. But not all fat is good for us.  For decades we’ve been told that oils low in saturated fat like canola are healthy.  This advice stemmed from some faulty studies which claimed that saturated fat is bad for heart health. (For more info on how this happened I recommend the book Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz).

So canola oil has become all the rage.  Unfortunately, there are problems (more than I can go into here).  First of all, what’s a canola?  Have you ever thought of that?  Olive oil comes from olives.  Sesame oil comes from sesame seeds.  Avocado oil comes from avocados.  So where does canola oil come from?

Canadian scientists developed an edible version of the rapeseed plant (can – Canadian, ola – oil).  Most of these plants are GMO so that they can withstand heavy herbicides.  So, you’ve got a plant that was not safe for consumption modified by scientists and treated heavily with chemicals to resist pests.  So it’s not really off to a great start.

Then canola oil must be processed... and it is highly processed.  It is heated and reheated and pressed and chemically cleaned.  You may have heard that seed oils are not safe to heat to high temperatures.  This is because seed oils are fragile and become rancid very easily when exposed to heat or sunlight.  So, canola oil is rancidified (yes that is a real word) during processing.  And that makes it highly inflammatory. 

So, back to avocado oil mayo.  Refined avocado oil (like the Chosen Foods brand) is refined without the use of chemicals or high heat.  Less processed oils mean less inflammation.

So I was searching for avocado oil mayo in the store.  I saw one that one of the name brands had some.  I was excited… until I looked at the ingredient list.  Yes, there was avocado oil there, but there was also (yes, you guessed it) canola oil.  This big brand company is trying to sell a “healthier” mayo that isn’t healthier at all.

So, if we know canola oil is bad, why don’t companies switch?  This probably won’t shock you, but canola oil is cheap and avocado oil is expensive. You can actually find pure avocado oil mayo in the store, but it will cost you more (I’m a fan of the Primal Kitchen brand).  You can also make your own.  There are lots of recipes online.  Making mayo may sound intimidating, but it is actually pretty easy.

When I first tasted avocado oil mayo I didn’t much care for it.  I grew up on Miracle Whip after all.  But I got used to it.  And now I like it.  And it feels good knowing I am making a choice that is better for my body.  In fact, since the fat we eat gets incorporated into every cell we in our bodies (remember the cell walls are made of fat) this is a little swap that can make a big difference. 

References:

Is Canola Oil Healthy?  All You Need to Know, Healthline.com, by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD, February 7, 2019

How Industrial Seed Oils Are Making Us Sick, Chriskresser.com, by Chris Kresser, February 19, 2019

Kathy Kiger