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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

Thanks eating well for making clear your position. Now that I know eating well are for an oil that is high in trans-fats from the 300 degree celsius extraction process, high in hydrogenation so therefore free radical friendly, causes Vitamin E deficiency and other health issues because of its lack in healthy saturated fats and a host of other health compromising challenges, not to forget toxic due to the hexane used in processing which can't be fully removed, I know to ignore your advice and site in the future. It's easy now that we're able to compare your advice with the experts who have kindly explained in authoritative articles. Phew! That was so easy! :)

Anonymous

03/31/2013 - 4:08am

If you want a healthy high smoke point oil use Coconut Oil, or render your own lard or tallow from GRASS FED ANIMALS that are fed NON GMO, and SOY FREE!!!

Anonymous

03/27/2013 - 11:54am

Hi Gang,
What about safflower oil? I need a healthy, unprocessed oil with a high smoke point to saute with. Ideas? Much Appreciated !! Thank you ,
Kelly Welton

Anonymous

03/26/2013 - 1:29pm

Canola oil as well as soy ad corn oil are processed using Hexane. I would never use any of these oils simply for this reason. Peanut, olive, walnut and grape seed are expeller pressed . It seems not using chemicals to process would be much healtier. Although, I'm no expert and organic canola is available, no GMO's.

Anonymous

03/23/2013 - 7:29pm

Whenver a scientist is involved in food, IT'S BAD NEWS PERIOD! Canola oil is 100% genetically created with science from an unedible plant called rapeseed!

Anonymous

03/22/2013 - 2:45am

GMO modified

Anonymous

03/20/2013 - 4:23am

Canola = "Canada Oil Low Acid", it seems a heavily processed oil, can be used to lubricate machine. I will never eat this kind of "oil".

Anonymous

03/13/2013 - 1:58pm

You need to read the scientific literature on canola oil. Anyone can say ANYTHING on the internet and say that it is true. Check reliable sources. Is the person discussing Nutrition - really a nutrition professional such as a registered dietitian or a self proclaimed "Nutritionist" without any science background.

Anonymous

03/12/2013 - 3:26pm

They have not been able to breed all the poison out of the Rape plant's seeds (canola sounds like a beautiful flower doesn't it).

Dave Loewe

Anonymous

03/11/2013 - 12:27pm

I prefer grape seed oil, myself, as olive oil has a low smoking point and is not good for frying or browning foods. I use it mostly on cold foods like salads, or hummus, etc. Grape seed oil is healthy, light, not overpowering in the taste, and has a high smoke point. I recently bought canola oil for some purposes, but we use very little of it. I wish I'd known there was such a thing as organic, or I'd have gotten that one, instead. I have learned to keep my oils out of light and cool, so they do not go bad. All my oils went rancid on me before I did that. You can tell by the sour smell they get, not nice. I also think people need to be warned more about vegetable oil, which is made of GMO soy, which being GMO, and being soy, in no way is good to be using. If we are buying any type of food that contains oil or is fried, it is most likely made with this oil.

Anonymous

03/08/2013 - 2:21pm

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