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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

You folks that seem to be completely paranoid about canola oil need to get your heads screwed on right. Aside for the fact that even 99.9% of all aversion to actual GMO foods, hybrid is not GMO, as the one rational commenter pointed out above. You can bet your booty that virtually 100% of all legacy animals, vegetables/seeds did not exist ages ago. Everything we eat is crossbred and selected for the qualities we prefer, whether the crossbreeding is natural or not. Stop being so gullible and paranoid or you will leave yourself nothing to eat whatsoever.

Anonymous

07/02/2014 - 6:56am

There have been many studies done that prove canola oil is dangerous. Deep frying with canola oil has been shown to cause lung cancer from the toxic fumes. Do some research and you will never eat this toxic man made poison.

Anonymous

06/26/2014 - 11:34am

Canola seeds????????? ROFL...

Anonymous

06/17/2014 - 1:39am

I do not approve of GMO. As a matter of fact : I hate it !! All it gave us so far is veggies and fruits that look picture perfect and have no taste. Don't anyone tell me they like biting into a strawberry that is crunchy ! I remember how great beefsteak tomato tested like ! Now a days if you eat them with your eyes closed you don't even know anymore what you eat. And that goes for a lot of other things. This is the day to day aspect and just for that alone I hate GMO. I cannot proof what else it did to our food but in my mind , it can't be better than what it did to the flavour.

Anonymous

06/12/2014 - 7:14pm

this is scary and totally crazy for our government not be doing anything about poisoning our people

Anonymous

06/08/2014 - 6:45pm

Rapeseed Not Canola seed. Haha you are a fool. BTW, carbs and sugars causes bad vldl Not healthy saturated fats. You might want to study "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis.

Anonymous

06/08/2014 - 10:47am

Ugh I don't know what to do olive oil is so expensive but if it's better I'll switch I cut out butter or am trying.help anyone I need a healthy alternative for cooking my veggies eggs etc.I want to get healthy...why does it have to be so difficult.im eating things fresh but I like my veggies cooked and I do boil at times when I enjoy it that way

Anonymous

06/06/2014 - 12:08pm

No good can come from Canola oil! It is not natural!

Anonymous

06/03/2014 - 12:13pm

"Canola seeds"? Seriously? If you want an alternative to cooking with olive oil, there's sunflower, safflower, or coconut. I use safflower oil in my baking recipes and they turn out fine. I can easily substitute another oil in the place of canola but find it difficult to find products that don't already contain canola on the grocery shelves sometimes.

Anonymous

05/27/2014 - 1:17pm

If you arent willing to eat foods that have been bred by man, you have to stop eating all veggies. Man has been choosing the seeds of plants that have desirable qualities since agriculture began. Example: most apple as nature made them are inedible, but people found a few that where sweet enough to eat, they planted the seeds of those to get more. Then(a few years later) they bred them with larger less sweet apples to get big, sweet apples, all before anybody had any knowledge of genetics. This is what was done in the sixties they selected plants that had a natural mutation to having low acid and then bred them together until they had "true" (a seed that will reliably produce offspring with the desired quality) seed. Remember tenth grade biology and Mendal? So you can have organic canola oil

All that said the canola oil here in the US is mostly GMO, where scientists with too much understanding of genetics take a gene of one organism, say a Salmon and splice it into the DNA of say a Tomato (they really did it). So canola oil may be good or bad for you, but, GMO canola oil most likely contains genes from Bt, a bacteria that kills soft bodied insects that like to feed on brassica's. (I did not research this but I would bet on it.) What effect does this gene (it is in a lot of foods) have on people? No one really knows. Genetics are complicated and messing with them has historically led to unintended consequences. Could this gene that makes little bugs so ill also make us ill? could it turn on or off other genes in the plants that could harm us? Again no research, just people who do not have a complete understanding of what they are working with telling us as far as they can recon it shouldn't. All I ask for is a label and a choice.

Anonymous

05/24/2014 - 6:09pm

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