Q. How Healthy Is Canola Oil Really?

By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., March/April 2010

How Healthy is Canola Oil?

A. Canola oil comes from canola seeds. They are a genetic variation of rapeseed that was developed in the 1960s using traditional plant-breeding methods to make the rapeseed more palatable.

But canola often gets a bad rap. For example, we get questions from people who’ve heard canola oil is toxic and can cause various diseases, from emphysema to Mad Cow. The truth is there are no sound scientific studies suggesting a link between canola oil and any disease.

We also hear concerns that canola oil is genetically engineered (GE). This is true—most canola (93 percent in the U.S.) is GE. If that’s a concern for you, choose certified organic.

EatingWell often uses canola oil in our recipes because it’s one of the healthiest oil choices. It’s a good source of monounsaturated fats, the kind that, when used to replace saturated fats like butter and cheese, can help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. Canola is the richest cooking-oil source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat that has been linked to heart health.

Canola is also versatile: it has a neutral taste, light texture and a medium-high smoke point, so it works well for sautéing and baking. (An oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which it begins to smoke. When it does, disease-causing carcinogens and free radicals are released, so you never want to heat your oil to that point.)

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Everyone here needs to understand the vital difference between GMO (genetically modified organism) and GE (genetically engineered). We humans have eaten genetically modified vegetable and fruit for thousands of years, When we selectively breed for desirable characteristics, we are genetically modifying that plant. Bees and other pollinators do it all the time, and there is nothing wrong with it. Genetic ENGINEERING, however, is VERY different: crosses and gene-splices are made that nature would not allow. Witness fish genes in tomatoes, and plants that survive heavy sprays of Roundup herbicide, and plants that contain Bt, a naturally-occurring pesticide that plants could not make by themselves.
The term GMO has been adopted as a slogan because it it catchy: "Say no to GMO." It is dangerously inaccurate, because it plays into the hands of Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, etc. who WANT us to be confused and misled.
Without genetic modification, we wouldn't have broccoli, or Labrador retrievers, and tomatoes and lettuce would be inedible. Do your homework, folks, and please please please let's get it right!


01/06/2013 - 8:09pm

How the heck much canola oil does one consume to make them so ill? It sounds more like a canola allergy, unless one is drinking the stuff! Like a peanut allergy, an oil allergy is hard to detect right away! Anyhow, I am an avid cook and baker, I use oil for so few things, I am curious how much canola oil the average person uses in a day? I use it for brownie mixes and an occasional quick bread or a dash for salad dressing. I don't fry my food much and I prefer a little olive oil for sautéing with a swirl of butter on occasion. Interesting comments.


01/13/2013 - 9:01pm

Rape seed oil rapes your health! Don't eat it if you respect your body and care for your health!


01/26/2013 - 2:53am

There is no GMO left in the oil. There is no cellular material left!! Moot moot!


02/01/2013 - 11:54pm

Best is to check your blood group type and know what you should and not


02/19/2013 - 12:11pm

Rapeseed itself is not edible. The process is has to through is scary to me. Add this chemical, bleach it, add another chemical, heat it up etc., etc. It is like casein. It was a byproduct of milk processing and considered a toxic waste. What a great Idea! Clean it up and sell it to the public. Protein powder that is for most people inedible and causes constipation and real bad gas. We are now deluded to the fact that canola oil is supposed to be safe. It is still heavily processed oil that is very plentiful and makes a few people very rich in Canada. It is no comparison to organic extra virgin OLIVE OIL. It is like saying raw honey and white sugar are the same thing. They are not. Carbohydrates yes. Equal, no.
Canola oil is not natural and I avoid any food that contains it. Unfortunately, it is in everything now.


02/28/2013 - 6:17pm

Mayo clinic, Snopes and other sources debunk the myth of danger in Canola oil. Before blindly believing what strangers post, do research. Who you gonna believe, Mayo Clinic or Anonymous?


03/04/2013 - 2:31pm

Personally I am at a loss, having read through 10 pages of counter opinion I am still at a loss. I opened this web page for information which I got a plenty, but I'm no further in understanding whether "Canola Oil" is beneficial or carcinogenic.

What I do know is that I have been using this oil or variants thereof since 1970, I am now 68 yrs old and still working a 50 hr week in heavy engineering,( hands on ), therefore the counter arguments don't stand up.


03/05/2013 - 8:49pm

Don't eat it. Don't you get it, They want you sick. There is no money in healthy people, and no money in Dead people. The money is right in the middle and lots of it. "THE SICK people are worth the most money. Cancer, heart deisease, obesity .....
Do all your selves a favor......plant a gerden this season. U won't regret it :)


03/08/2013 - 1:25pm

I prefer grape seed oil, myself, as olive oil has a low smoking point and is not good for frying or browning foods. I use it mostly on cold foods like salads, or hummus, etc. Grape seed oil is healthy, light, not overpowering in the taste, and has a high smoke point. I recently bought canola oil for some purposes, but we use very little of it. I wish I'd known there was such a thing as organic, or I'd have gotten that one, instead. I have learned to keep my oils out of light and cool, so they do not go bad. All my oils went rancid on me before I did that. You can tell by the sour smell they get, not nice. I also think people need to be warned more about vegetable oil, which is made of GMO soy, which being GMO, and being soy, in no way is good to be using. If we are buying any type of food that contains oil or is fried, it is most likely made with this oil.


03/08/2013 - 2:21pm

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