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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

If the oil doesn't come from something you would eat in it's natural form, such as olives, avocados, coconuts etc.. don't eat it! And unless corn oil comes from non GMO corn, skip it. Did you know that canola oil was originally produced for commercial, industrial use and not for consumption? Think about it. I don't care how much they "purified" or modified it for human consumption. I will not eat it. And it's getting very hard to find commercially produced foods that don't contain it which is why I only shop at my local co-op or eat at home! This stuff is not good for you despite what you read. Butter is even a healthier alternative because it is real food your body recognizes.

Anonymous

10/29/2013 - 10:32am

canola comes from the words Canada and oil (ola). it is a hybrid rapeseeds from several different mustard plants, resulting in a new mustard plant called Canola, from which comes the oil. This plant has been GMO by Monsanto to be Round-up resistant, which is the problem. Now due to the pollination means, bees, it is found in over 90% of the crops. Would love to see Farmers in a class-action on the pollution of their fields by GMO. Instead, in Canada, the supreme court ruled in favor of Monsanto when the sued a farmer for NOT PAYING for the LICENSING FEE when the resistant gene was found in his crop because his argument was that it had "blown" in which is not the way pollination occurs in the Brassicaceae family.

Anonymous

10/28/2013 - 1:07pm

actually, 90% of Canola seeds are GMO: by Monsanto, which has genetically modified new cultivars of rapeseed to be resistant to Roundup. They actually sued for compensation from farmers where the "Roundup Ready" gene was found in their fields without paying a license fee. Since bees do the pollinating of rapeseed plants including canola (the hybrid result crossing at least 3 different mustard plants back in the 60s), I would have counter sued for the pollution of my fields with this Round-up Ready pollen. But because the farmers wrongly claimed that it had "blown in" the Supreme Court of Canada found in favor of Monsanto's patent infringement claim for unlicensed growing of Roundup.
In March 2008, an out-of-court settlement between Monsanto and Schmeiser, one of the farmers, reached an agreement for Monsanto to clean up the entire GMO-canola crop on Schmeiser's farm at a cost of $660. oh brother!

Anonymous

10/28/2013 - 12:56pm

hey i dnt mind using canola spray or canola oil for frying

Anonymous

10/27/2013 - 1:03am

To the person who claims he/she spews diarrhea all over the house like a paint sprayer: consider you may have an extreme reaction to it solely due to an allergic reaction, and some people, I'd say most, have no problem with the oil. I'm a chef that works in a closed environment (a large oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico) using canola oil exclusively, and there are no such complaints.

Anonymous

10/26/2013 - 11:50am

The canola plant was hybridized in Canada (Canadian oil = canola) in the late 60s, involving black mustard, leaf mustard and turnip rapeseed. The seeds had to be called something. I asked a farmer on the weekend about canola oil. He said they plant canola seeds. Like all oils, it is 100% fat and has 125 calories per tablespoon. It wasn't genetically modified.

Anonymous

10/16/2013 - 9:15pm

If you know of research that proves that canola oil is detrimental, cite your sources.
I hope that "altruism" has risen in kids in the U.S. Thanks for the laugh!

Anonymous

10/14/2013 - 12:42am

Use Olive or sesame. Canola oil is 100% GMO

Anonymous

10/10/2013 - 10:14am

Really, if your going to post at least fully know what your talking about. Canola oil IS produced from the seed of the Canola plant. YES the variety used WAS NATURALLY crossbred between Rapeseed plants (Not frankenveggie style) To creae the Canola plant.Those who dont bother to fully research this assume its chuck full of erucic acid as Rapeseed oil is which can raise liver and heart lipids and is toxic in high amounts. Well its not and it is Heart healthy, in moderation. Unfortunately moderation is seldom practiced in the west. Now I dont know about you but when my grandma naturally crossbred her tomatos to create her own heirloom variety I wasnt all freaking out about GMO. Now actual GMO that scares me, I wont touch it, canola oil I have no problem with.

Anonymous

10/02/2013 - 4:46am

I couldn't bring myself to read the article after the first line. Canola oil comes from canola seeds? Really? Tell me, what is a canola? The word means oil from Canada. Canola oil comes from the seed from the rape plant. How can anyone take the writer serious when the first line dubs them an idiot? Canola seed indeed!

Anonymous

09/26/2013 - 12:48pm

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