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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When humans modify plants to meet their needs, they can risk making the original plants less likely to survive in non human-altered conditions. And that is the real danger of modification. Use of pesticides, and plants altered for herbicide resistance is a greater, and very real concern. If you are sick of hearing about it, don't read about it, but denying the danger is just stupid.


06/10/2012 - 2:06pm

Do NOT consume this crap! It is VERY dangerous. Monsanto and other CORRUPT corporations LIE to you about "food" they make up. They manipulate the labels. All they care about is making extra profits $$$$$$. It's cheaper to "modify" a food. They are destroying your health! DON'T be naive and stupid. Corporations are FASCIST and EVIL!


06/11/2012 - 6:34am

I like olive oil, but I'm told that the smoke point is too low to use for deep frying, that and it's very expensive. The Canola oil is much cheaper, that and corn oil is what I use now.


06/22/2012 - 1:23pm

Cold pressed organic coconut oil is the best oil for cooking at high temperatures. I got rid of canola and corn oil for cooking.


07/02/2012 - 11:55pm

So called Canola oil, derived from rapeseed, is always refined. Why? Because in its unrefined state it is extremely bitter and nobody would buy it. The process of refining it damages its much touted Omega-3 content and actually converts some of the Omega 3 into trans-fats!


07/03/2012 - 9:09am

The person who wrote comment below obviously did not finish reading this article :

"In the case of Canola oil it's simply a matter of rapeseed being selectively bred until the desired results were achieved (lower acid). It does NOT contain DNA from other organisms injected into it."

That is how Canola oil used to be before the 1990's. Currently all over 90% of Canola Oil in the United States DOES contain DNA from other organisms injected into it so it can withstand being drenched in RoundUp Weed killer it's entire life. I personally prefer to eat crops that haven't been soaked in RoundUp their entire life. I am strongly IN FAVOR of Genetically modifying crops to be resistant to drought, mold, etc..but that is not what is going on. Currently just about every GMO crop is being genetically modified so it can survive numerous sprays of RoundUp. It is a beautiful business model for Monsanto, the makers of RoundUp and RoundUp ready seeds, because they can sell the GMO seeds and the RoundUp weed killer to spray on them. But, it is not good for the environment to have millions of acres of farmland being drenched with RoundUp everyday. The Obama administration has sided with Monsanto and are most likely NOT going to make a law requiring food to be labeled if it contains these RoundUp ready GMO products. I received an email from Obama administration saying that they were in favor of GMO because it reduces the need of pesticide. That is simply not true. RoundUP ready crops INCREASE the use of the herbicide RoundUP, which is considered a pesticide by the EPA. I usually agree with Obama, but not on this issue.


07/03/2012 - 2:37pm

I am in favor of Genetically modifying crops to be resistant to drought, and mold, etc. But, I personally prefer not to eat crops that have been genetically modified to survive being sprayed by the weed killer RoundUp, because that means these crop have been soaked in Roundup their entire lives. RoudUp residue is not necessarily something I want to be eating. Yes, 90% of Canola in the US is genetically modified to be resistant to RoundUp and no RoundUp dos not Vap-Poo-rise like Monsanto would like you to believe.


07/03/2012 - 2:42pm

As I understand Monsanto's product, RoundUp, it is a systemic herbicide meant to kill anything green that it touches. I use it myself to control weeds on my property, being careful not to spray it on my ornamental plants because it will kill anything with roots! If sprayed on rapeseed plants, the plants will immediately wither and die. Is canola manufactured from dead plants? Otherwise, I don't think we need to be concerned about fresh rapeseed plants having RoundUp on their greenery.


07/05/2012 - 6:34pm

It's not the GE that I believe is bad. It is the heavy refining that is necessary to make this oil palatable that damages the fats and makes this terrible. The reason the smoke point on this oil is so high is that all the fats have already been damaged.


07/08/2012 - 12:06pm

I've discovered that I can replace cream in my coffee with a drop or two of canola oil and then add skim milk. I use the normal canola oil I get in the supermarket. I'm in my mid 70's and probably will die from other causes before any cancer (other people are concerned might result from generic engineering) had time to grow. My partially clogged arteries are a bigger concern for me. However most of the time I drink my coffee black.


07/08/2012 - 7:50pm

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