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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

Crisco, Wesson, Mazola oil is poison for your body. All vegetable oils are toxic for the body. Vegetables are healthy to eat but vegetables do not really produce oils. It's the way these so-called Vegetable oils are produced that make them so toxic Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids from Vegetable oils are very very toxic for the body. Cooking with Lard and Butter is the way to go,..But if you don't like Lard or Butter then use only Coconut oil or Palm oil to cook with.

Anonymous

01/16/2014 - 10:35am

So we smoke cigarettes, drink too much alcohol, we have rotund bodies and yet we can still grissle about Canola Oil,,, which shall it be? Lung cancer, cirohsis of the liver or dying from a heart attack from the extra flabber we carry around,,,, gee whizz,,,,, take a look at our habits before we target a food ,,,

Anonymous

01/19/2014 - 6:52am

Canola oil is sold in clear containers, so exposure to light seems not to be a problem for this oil. Unprotected polyunsaturated oils are not very stable when exposed to light. This concerns me. Here is something from Dr. Gangemi's website: "The oil is removed by a combination of high temperature mechanical pressing and solvent extraction. Traces of the solvent (usually hexane) remain in the oil, even after considerable refining. Canola oil goes through the process of caustic refining, bleaching and degumming – all of which involve high temperatures or chemicals of questionable safety. And because it is high in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, (11% and 21% respectively) which easily become rancid and foul-smelling when subjected to oxygen and high temperatures, it must be deodorized. The standard deodorization process removes a large portion of the omega-3 fatty acids by turning them into trans fatty acids. The Canadian government lists the trans content of canola at a minimal 0.2 percent, but it is speculated that they are actually much higher due to the processing. This processing is much different from that of olive oil, which most often is first cold pressed to reduce the oxidation of the oil."

Anonymous

01/22/2014 - 12:29am

Not commenting about all of the above - only taste..... bought faux mayonnaise - called Vegenaise, the first ingredient is canola oil, which brought me here. There are no added flavorings, and al the rest of the ingredients are common - like apple cider vinegar and sea salt - and their taste is familiar.
So does it taste "better than Mayo" - as the label says?
Ahhh - NO! It has a very disagreeable aftertaste. And it could only be the canola oil!
Not worth ruining whatever other food you are using it with.
Maybe cooking with it is OK - but unless you regularly eat Mayonnaise by the jar full - I don't recommend canola oil as a substitute ingredient in something like this - even for the sake of good health!

Anonymous

01/22/2014 - 2:14pm

"Canola Seed"? There is no such thing. This is man-made crap, and we should not be eating it. And Whole Foods should not be selling it. Garbage.

Anonymous

01/28/2014 - 10:52am

there is NO SUCH THING AS A CANOLA! there NEVER HAS BEEN & NEVER WILL BE ANY THING CALLED A CANOLA! people don't ead & that's why they are ABOUT AS INTELLIGENT AS A STRUCK MATCH there's no organic canola oil either people need to read but sadly many highschool graduates ae incapable of reading

look closely ( Canadian Oil Low Acid ) if you take the first letter in each of those words you'll see a CANOLA PLANT otherwise you can't look at one learn to read people & then actually do it!

Anonymous

02/01/2014 - 4:56am

Seems like a lot of people commenting have GMO mixed up with hybridization, whether with plants or animals. Yes, a certain amount of genetic "engineering" occurs with plants and animals, and has been done over several decades. Generally this has been done between "like" organisms in the case of plants (ie: one kind of rose pollinated to another to create a "hybrid", or tomatoes). In the case of animals, a true hybrid would be, for example, a mule -- a cross between a horse and a donkey. In the case of most hybrids, the resulting plant/animal is sterile, that is, unable to reproduce. This hybrid sterility prevents the movement of genes from one species to the other, keeping both species distinct. In the case of canines (dogs), the offspring are bred with specific traits in mind. So puppies that show distinct desirable traits are bred while the ones who do not show these traits are not. Eventually the undesired traits disappear from the genetic line, but naturally takes several generations of animals to bring to effect.

Genetically Modified Organisms, on the other hand, as understood in its present day sense, is far FAR different. GMO as it is understood and utilized today is genetic modification on a scientific scale involving the mutation, insertion, or deletion of genes, most often between DIFFERENT SPECIES. It may require a viral vector or the insertion of the genetic material of one species into the nucleus of another.

This is where the problem lies. When we are dealing with this level of manipulation, whether it be the introduction of fish genes into tomatoes, or creating a goat that makes spider silk in its milk, the negative ramifications are underplayed. The potential for mutations to occur, for unknown effects to the animals or their progeny, the effects of foods consumed with foreign genes within it are vast and unpredictable. The resistance in Roundup Ready canola has already passed into the weeds it was meant to resist. The butterflies that feed on the nectar of GMO crops, DIE. It has been shown that GMO grains are adversely affecting the gut bacteria in humans and animal that consume it. And the deadly potential for cross species diseases is but a matter of time. This is why GMO at this level should be rigorously scientifically scrutinized, by scientists who hold no conflict of interest and have the health and safety of the public as their highest concern. But this is NOT what is happening. Instead the proponents of GM science want to manipulate at will, on all levels, with ALL organisms, and with NO OVERSIGHT, either governmental or scientific. THAT is what makes it wrong.

Anonymous

03/08/2014 - 12:47pm

solid article. Well written. Dont listen to them haters.

Anonymous

03/10/2014 - 9:37am

Forget US Canola oil. Buy cold pressed organic rapeseed oil from the UK. GM foods are not used in food in the Uk yet.
Margaret

Anonymous

04/05/2014 - 1:54pm

Well if DuPont and Viterra made it then it must be good for you!

Anonymous

04/16/2014 - 6:05pm

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