A Conversation for Twinkies
Sho - employed again! Started conversation Mar 27, 2001
What the flaming norah is canola oil? Is it better than Castrol?
Ashley Posted Mar 27, 2001
Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession Posted Mar 27, 2001
I'll save you the search.
Canola oil is made from the rapeseed, a weed which is a member of the mustard family. Previously, the rapeseed plant was used as a lubricant, and as a pesticide since bugs hate it.
The rapeseed smells terrible, so it is deoderized at high temperature as part of the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, the deoderization process turns canola oil into an omega-3 trans-fatty acid which is particularly bad for your heart. Canola oil also causes a deficiency in vitamin E, which boosts your immune system and reduces heart disease.
The *really* bizarre thing is that canola oil's sulfur content typically causes any baked goods made with it to attract mould in a matter of days. And yet, Twinkies have probably the highest shelf life of any snack product on the market. How this is managed chemically is a complete mystery to me.
But that's unsubstantiated. If you search again, this time at any decent Urban Legends site, you will find point-by-point counterarguments.
And just like folktales, urban legends have a specific textual pattern. If you look at the information that gets passed around about canola oil, it often follows this pattern very closely (not Fragilis' post, that's an abbreviation of what you'll see on other sites). While that is not evidence that the information is not valid, it is important to note that structured, well-supported, scientifically-sound arguments never follow that particular textual pattern.
I've stumbled on this sort of thing before on health food and alternative medicine sites. It is so easy to believe that things we think are good for us turn out not to be (it is often too true) that people sometimes just eat up an opinion along those lines. It starts to get passed around as fact, and people refer to each other to show that they are not alone in saying it, often not realizing that their supporting information is based on the same opinion that has simply followed other channels. Harper's Monthly a few years ago had a fascinating article in which they traced just how that came to happen with a "survey" of what teachers thought were the top 10 problems in American schools. The "survey" originated as a tract written by a self-proclaimed preacher not affiliated with any school (or church), and eventually worked its way up to "fact" cited by the US Secretary of Education during the Reagan administration.
I have also never seen a valid scientific citation to the actual shelf-life of a twinkie. [added just to bring the topic back]
Sho - employed again! Posted Mar 28, 2001
Ashley Posted Mar 28, 2001
The ones we sampled in the office came from the states
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: Sho - employed again! (Mar 27, 2001)
- 2: Ashley (Mar 27, 2001)
- 3: Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession (Mar 27, 2001)
- 4: Ashley (Mar 27, 2001)
- 5: dElaphant (and Zeppo his dog (and Gummo, Zeppos dog)) - Left my apostrophes at the BBC (Mar 28, 2001)
- 6: Sho - employed again! (Mar 28, 2001)
- 7: Ashley (Mar 28, 2001)