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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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COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

Most of you complaining about Canola Oil are a bunch of babies. You heard something somewhere and claim some business or government conspiracy. I haven't seen any real, hard, scientific evidence presented that explains why Canola Oil is bad for you.

However, Canola Oil is recognized by the:
* American Dietetic Association
* American Heart Association
* U.S. Food and Drug Administration

You will get a nice dose of Omega 3 from Canola Oil. You will also get a decent amount of Omega 6.

The dangers of rapeseed and erucic acid are nonexistant because commercially-grown plants that are used to extract Canola Oil contain less than 2% erucic acid.. Canola Oil doesn't even come from wild rapeseed; but, comes from genetically-engineered plants. If you have a problem with genetically-engineered foods, then stay away from Canola Oil.

What I DO have a problem with are corporations like Monsanto who sue farmers just because the farmers' fields gets "infected" by another field using some product of Monsanto.

Finally, somebody mentioned using butter and olive oil instead. Butter is butter... full of saturated fats. Compared to Canola Oil, Olive oil contains twice as much saturated fat, lacks Omega 3, and has half as much Omega 6.

In summary, Canola Oil is absolutely one of the healthiest, safest, and best oils that you can use. There is PLENTY of scientific evidence to support Canola Oil. I'd post direct links here, but not sure they will come through.

Anonymous

05/06/2012 - 12:53am

God made our plants and food source's perfect, as only He can. Man is still trying to outdo God. It CANNOT be done. I wish man would leave our food alone, and stop playing with our food, trying to extend the life of food by adding harmful chemical's such as HFCS and such!

Anonymous

05/07/2012 - 11:48am

Every product has a good/bad impact on your body...so I prefer to choose many not only one :)

Anonymous

05/13/2012 - 5:19am

So who is going to pay for these scientific studies that prove canola is poison? No one can make money from that.

Anonymous

05/20/2012 - 11:01pm

I am so tired of our corporate, for profit only food system. Nature has given our planet an abundance of healthy foods that we are all designed to be eating. Real food, not man made experiments like this rotten Canola oil. I try hard to avoid it but the point is that we the public should not have to read all the fine print and put one product after another back on the store shelves because this dangerous man made canola oil is in there. We need more integrity in high places were this crap all gets approved so we the public don't have our health jeopardized by an out of control corporate food system.

Anonymous

05/22/2012 - 4:14pm

Lay off the "nature has given us" crap. The anti everything crowd seems to forget that "genetically engineered" doesn't always mean that it was "created" in a lab by evil scientists. 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.

There's not a single fruit or vegetable any of us put in our mouths that doesn't technically fit the definition of "genetically modified organism". If you're determined to avoid GMOs then you better stop eating because all common fruits and vegetables (and livestock and poultry) have been selectively bred for hundreds and thousands of years. Basically any food that isn't the same as it was when it was discovered in the wild has been modified. All of it. That "heirloom" organic tomato you paid $2 for at the farmer's market? MODIFIED.

Personally I think people would be much better off if they worried more about the amount of food they shove into their fat ugly faces, instead of whether or not it has Canola oil in it.

Anonymous

05/25/2012 - 1:53am

A lot of silly enlightened people commenting here. To the point that this doesn't make any sense at all. Gladly by knowing virtually nothing about canola oil I can tell the most of these oil scientists commenting here know as much as me. The dude that kills insects spraying canola oil, and they die on touch (probably he is buying fake canola oil from a scammer). That was the funniest thing I have seen in a while, can't wait until the MythBusters test that claim. Reminds me of the CocaCola myths, some that I've never even heard off, obviously all busted.

Anonymous

05/30/2012 - 2:41pm

The post below mine: SPOT ON. THANK YOU!!
I too am fed up with people believing that GMOs aren't "natural" and we're playing god. For fuck's sake, people, pull your head out of your ass.

Anonymous

06/07/2012 - 8:55am

This sentence made me want to do a face plant on my keyboard.

"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."

IF that's a concern for you. It should be a concern for everyone. Amazing that people are so unconcerned about the sad and toxic state of our food supply.

Anonymous

06/08/2012 - 12:44pm

I am cooking with it right now. How is selictive breeding of plants not natural, we (humans) have been doing it for thousands of years.

Anonymous

06/08/2012 - 6:48pm

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