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 should do extensive research on Canola before jumping on the band wagon of saying that it is bad for you. Although the internet is flooded with websites "claiming" that Canola is bad for you, it's is actually from the seed of a plant (Yu Choy) that has been eaten in Asia for centuries with no ill effect. The seed is crushed and the oil extracted. Yu Choy is a relative to cabbage, turnips, and mustard greens.
In most countries including America, peanut oil is preferred for frying as it has a higher smoking point and the high temperature of the oil ensures fried foods that are not oil laden and greasy (a result of frying when the oil temperature is not hot enough).
Truth to the matter with any oil is that they are all fats and people should not be eating so much fried foods to begin with. Steaming, boiling, and braising foods are healthier cooking techniques to frying, broiling, and grilling foods which due to the high heat and charring, create cancer causing agents in the meats and vegetables.


01/10/2016 - 7:59am

If you want to avoid canola oil, which I do, you have to read labels. It's in many products from hummus to salad dressings to coconut milk. You can find alternatives without canola oil but you just have to pay attention to the labels.


01/05/2016 - 9:56am

It tastes disgusting. Like sump oil


09/18/2015 - 4:56am

You should read "Canola Oil: Is It Healthy? by Bruce Fife, N.D., which appeared in the November/December 2012 issue of Well Being Journal. It makes a good argument for avoiding canola oil at all costs.


09/02/2015 - 3:08pm

re: re: re: re:


09/01/2015 - 12:57pm

I am 85 years old. I have been using Canola Oil for years and I have no health problems.


08/14/2015 - 5:37pm

It is such an eye opener despite billions spent to research medicine, they failed these past 50 years to say what fat is "healthy". The canola oil I use has a "Heart Healthy" sticker and now must dispute that claim. What I was trained as bad, butter more specifically ghee, is now the best oil of all. Obviously the medical community is to blame.


08/13/2015 - 7:12pm

concentrate on creating the menu, which features curry and teriyaki entre choices. Fakuda is a food


08/09/2015 - 2:07am

That stuff is DISGUSTING and requires so many chemical reactions and heating to extract the "oil" from the seeds. Do not even touch it.


07/31/2015 - 5:54pm

"The truth is there are no sound scientific studies suggesting a link between canola oil and any disease. "



07/16/2015 - 9:11pm

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