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.)

Download a Free Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!


Used canola oil and started experiencing head ache and my heart beat was first. I Dont knowwhether canola oil contributed. Somebody help me.


01/22/2015 - 2:39pm

Poor mans olive oil!


01/09/2015 - 1:16am

This site needs to get up to date on the use of hybridised/GMO oils and natural fats like butter, avocado and coconut oil. The science is now changing and butter certainly is better. For an oil to cook with use coconut. If you don't like the coconut taste you can get it filtered even more and having none of that strong taste. Coconut is more tolerant of the high cooking temperatures without oxidising like canola, sunflower, corn and soybean oil. These oils are now being implicated in some cancers. See articles on


01/08/2015 - 6:59am

Those against GMO know nothing about science.. And the ignorance continues to feed the hysteria.


01/07/2015 - 7:56pm

What a terrible article. It's so pro-GMO. Most "canola" seeds at least 90% is produced by Monsanto, which means the "canola" seeds are GMO. The process that is used to produce canola oil involves a chemical called Hexane. Its sad that this magazine should publish this article.


12/31/2014 - 4:16pm

There is no such thing as a Canola plant of a Canola seed. Canola oil comes from Rape seed and cousing of Mustard. The word Canola is an invention, It comes from Canadian Oil, Low Acid, "Can O La".

I think if you look at the temperatures it tolerates and the way it is processed you may change your
mind about using it to cook with, and may not even want to eat it. There are too many superior oils
out there to rely on Canola Oil for your diet in my opinion.


12/11/2014 - 6:12pm

just use olive oil or safflower oil in my opinion!


12/08/2014 - 1:58am

Boring u could at least tell me what animal/plant do you have to take genes from in order to make canola plant


12/02/2014 - 10:56am

Whoever said, "Anyone who refers to something as "GMO" as a slur has zero credibility. I wouldn't trust you to tell me the current weather." Are you serious! Welcome to "the Matrix!" You bought into the corporate / industrial brainwash!


12/01/2014 - 2:37am

Is this the level of dialog this site attracts? What a bunch of illiterate hysterics.


11/30/2014 - 4:12pm

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner