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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

it's cheap, it's GMO, it's highly questionable, it's in practically EVERYTHING... it's making some folks a lot of cash, and the bottom line is they don't care if it's healthy or not. I am guessing it's not healthy, therefore erring on the side of caution. What's sad is that the health food industry is putting canola oil in a large percentage of their products. Agave sweetener is another culprit, bad as or possibly worse than HFCS and they are using it in "healthy" products.

Anonymous

09/03/2014 - 5:48pm

I was real sad when the boy scouts started using canola oil in their popcorn!!! When I tried to explain to a few mothers why I could no longer purchase their product, they didn't have a clue, like most of America
their all in lala land!!! Shame on you, boy scouts of America!!! Heaven help us all!!!

Anonymous

08/12/2014 - 5:18pm

As long as you don't heat your oil at temperature to the point that it smoke is really bad...it releases carcinogens and other bad elements that will make us sick.

Anonymous

08/11/2014 - 2:26pm

Wow, the looneys really came out in full force on this one.

Anonymous

08/06/2014 - 1:17pm

PL tell us what is better ?

Anonymous

08/02/2014 - 11:50am

Most people DON'T want Canola oil, yet it continues to be forced upon us, substituted for non-genetically engineered oils by the corporations because it is cheap and increases the PROFIT margin. I was very dismayed recently to realize that my favorite lip-balm, Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, which I have been purchasing and using for many years, now contains both soybean and canola oil- Most soy is GMO these days, and we know that canola is a Genetically Engineered plant, toxic in it's native Rapeseed form, and no definitive studies have been done to prove Canola's safety for humans. Canola is listed as the last ingredient on the Burt's Bees Lip Balm, but still, it's in there. The packaging says "100% Natural". It does not have the Non-GMO Butterfly logo- But I've discovered items that have the Butterfly logo ARE apparently allowed to contain canola oil: I recently purchased a bag of vegetable chips with the Non-GMO Butterfly logo, only to find that it contained "Sunflower, Safflower, and/or CANOLA oil" ( Arghh!! ) Back to the original topic... Logically, if I continue to use my Burt's Bees lip balm I'll be choosing to take GMOs into my body. I feel sad that whoever bought out the "Burt's Bees" company compromised what was a terrific, truly natural product in the name of the almighty dollar. * The answer to the GMO problem: Keep reading labels; As much as possible, try to support only companies who are ethical and use truly natural wholesome ingredients- Companies care about sales, so Vote with your dollar! : )

Anonymous

07/27/2014 - 7:10pm

About 6 years ago we noticed that my son (2 at the time) would go to bed with stomach pains and would not be able to sleep. He also went from being a lovely little boy to a complete little **** within just a few minutes of eating something. We started by cutting out wheat and initially thought that he had a problem with gluten. After a year of removing foods from his diet we narrowed it down to oils. In the last few years companies are getting better with listing the oils in their products. Sunflower and olive oil were fine and over a year ago we have experimented with products with just palm and coconut oil. So it took time however we narrowed it down to Rapeseed oil. We have cut it completely out of his diet and he is now a lovely 8 year old (with just typical good and bad behaviour). However, there have been occasions when he becomes extremely aggressively and has the stomach cramps just before bedtime. And every time we look at what he has eaten recently and we find that its rapeseed; we stick to food products that we know that are safe, however, companies keep changing their ingredients and switch to rapeseed oils and we find the culprit and have to then remove this from the list of products that he can have. We have researched this and have found that some countries have banned rapeseed from animal feed as it makes them aggressive and farmers have larger vet bills due to animals injuring themselves and other animals. I would love for it to me removed from the human food chain. As my son ages we are hoping that as an adult he can control his aggression if he eats rapeseed by accident. As an 8 year old, its not easy for him to do this at present.

Anonymous

07/19/2014 - 5:06pm

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

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