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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There are millions of products in the super markets that contain canola and soy oil and when someone has an intolerance to these oils it can be a major problem and puts their health at risk. I can not tolerate canola or soy oil I get deathly ill the symptoms are as follows vertigo, chest pain, nausea and diarrhea. It's hard to avoid when it's in most commonly used products like bread, peanut butter and it's used in most restaurants in frying and baking. I try to avoid it but it has become very hard.



06/13/2013 - 10:02am

I have been using Canola Oil for 20 years or more and I have found
no ill effects from it, These articles and the info about the oil is very
surprising... I also use Olive oil... Not sure what to believe anymore!!


06/12/2013 - 11:45am

Coconut oil is the healthy choice for cooking I don't have a lot of money to spend either but you can order it in bulk and when you do your figuring it's not more expensive then canola oil.I believe this is not the item to try to safe a few pennies,maybe don't purchase an extra pair of shoes or skip going out to eat.Save
on other things but not on what you put in and on your and your families body's


06/09/2013 - 1:44pm

CANOLA IS NOT GOOD FOR ALL PEOPLE!!!! No scientific evidence or not, my husband is highly allergic to canola oil (severe stomach reaction). When we finally figured out what was making him sick, I even 'tested' the theory a couple times by slipping in canola oil products and sure enough, the results were the same. His brother is as well. That's scientific enough for me. It is frustrating to see canola oil pushed as safe and healthy when it is NOT for many people. You'll find various examples from real people who have no financial reason to promote or discourage the use of this oil when you do a google search. Canola oil has been pushed so much that it is getting very difficult to go to any restaurants or even purchase foods like sauces or crackers because it is in EVERYTHING. Canola has made his life miserable, so just remember it is NOT good for everyone.


06/07/2013 - 12:39pm

Crisco is cheap??


06/05/2013 - 5:00pm

Don't let this article fool you. Canola oil does not come from canola seeds. Canola stands for "Canadian Oil". It is all genetically engineered, GMO rapeseed oil. It has no right to call itself organic, except that nothing will bother rapeseed... it has no pests. My family boycotted it and noticed within a week that our arthritis/ joint aches and my red face disappeared. Sometimes, it accidentally gets eaten, and the symptoms appear. Do not be fooled by the food industry or their friends.


06/05/2013 - 3:22pm

While I agree with the poster about GMO foods, Maltodextrin is not a genetically modified product. It is enzymated, just as your digestive system would enzymate an ear of corn after eating it. I have used maltodextrin for several years in my protein shakes with no side effects.


05/12/2013 - 8:35pm

Great article! Thank you.

Confused by the poster who details why he/she cannot purchase any oil other than canola, and then says "don't force your needs down my throat." How in the world is anyone forcing needs down someone else's throat by sharing information about food safety? Seems like an odd reaction. If someone had posted about wanting to outlaw the sale of canola oil, the response would make sense. Otherwise, it seems like misplaced anger. We're all just doing our best, making the best choices we can for ourselves and our families; I for one appreciate learning as much as I possibly can about how to use my limited funds to make the healthiest possible choices.


05/09/2013 - 11:48pm

Cold pressed grape seed oil from Italy, Spain, etc., has a high flash point before it oxidizes and is an excellent source of clean oil. NON-GMO is the only way to go. GMOs taken internally disrupt digestion by altering the genes of the friendly gut bacteria; thereby, not allowing proper digestion. Improperly digested food will ferment and produce gastrointestinal toxins that cause many ailments and disorders including IBS, Crohns disease, etc.. Mel-Fry canola oil from Ventura Foods, Canada is GMO and used in many restaurants. GMOs cause spontaneous abortions and sterility in cattle. GMOs have created a new pathogen that attacks GMO plants. cattle and chickens given a choice between non-GMO and GMO grains always choose non-GMO. Boycott GMOs to stay healthy! Buyer beware!


The genes of genetically modified foods are split with the E. coli bacteria, Bt toxin and other “gene promoters” that leave the bacterium’s residue in your gut that causes IBD, IBS, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. It didn't get there by accident. The statistical increase in digestive diseases and colorectal cancer can be directly traced to the creation of genetically modified foods and the addition of dangerous addictive chemicals in packaged foods.

The effects of genetically modified fruits and vegetables, factory farmed meats and addictive chemical additives, such as MSG, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin and others, caused one author to be diagnosed with malignant colon cancer.


05/02/2013 - 10:47pm

We are on a low income budget:

Olive oil burns too easily ad is too expensive
Peanut oil is too expensive
Coconut oil is too expensive
One person in family is allergic to corn - so no corn oil
2 people are allergic to soy - so no "vegetable" oil - to the person who said vegetable oil is canola/rapeseed, you're wrong, it is a blend that s typically mostly soy oil (read the label).

Canola oil is our ONLY viable option.

My hat is off to those of you who can afford to buy whatever you want. If you want to, and it makes sense for you, then do it, but don't force your needs down my throat. We can't all do what we'd like to do if we don't have the money to do so.


04/30/2013 - 2:39pm

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