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.)

Download a Free Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!


When I cruised the Danube, we saw fields of yellow flowers and were told they were what canola oil was
made out of.


03/28/2012 - 11:18am

I avoid Canola oil like the plague IT IS !!! Read labels always and leave it on the shelves. I also prefer butter, olive oil, or lemon juice.. Keep it real...


03/28/2012 - 11:11am

Genectically engineered foods undesirable for several reasons. One of the "engineered qualities" is that these seeds are created to be resistant to herbicides such as Roundup. His allows entire fields to be sprayed rather than spot treatments which are more time consuming and expensive. This exposes our food supplies to these harmful chemicals as well as adding large amounts of the chemcals to our soil and water supplies. Not to mention that we won't know how the genectically modified foods themselves will affect our bodies over the long term. We are now seeing "super weeds" that have become resistant to chemicals such as Roundup. This will lead to the use of even stronger chemicals in larger quantities, therefore creating a vivious cycle. This is just one example of GE food alterations. Foods are being mutated with other goals in mind also, such as pesticide resistant, leading to the same kinds of chemical anD insect affects. The hormones of these plants are being manipulated for various growth goals. We don't know what long term affects this could have on our own health, etc.


03/25/2012 - 7:59pm

Sorry this is a lie..... please do more research about it..... people need to know the true.....


03/20/2012 - 11:14am

I have used Canola for many moons and am quite happy with the results.I also use Extra Virgin Olive Oil...first press.


03/17/2012 - 8:57am

Canola oil is genetically modified rapeseed oil. Insects do not bother it. It is farmed in cheap abundance and sold as food. It was used in Canadian machine shops. It is a great lubricant. It was never meant for human consumption. Canada paid the United States FDA fifty million dollars to approve it. It is farmed so easily that the rest of the money you spend on it goes to propaganda to keep you believing it is good. Wake up folks, it is ok to burn it in your diesel car, or use it to lubricate your bicycle chain, but please do not eat it.


03/06/2012 - 10:35pm

I thought 'canola' just meant 'Canadian Oil/?


02/26/2012 - 4:36pm

There is no such thing as a canola plant growing anywhere thus this oil does not occur in nature.Canola oil is manmade..and during the manufacturing process the healthy omega-3 fats are denatured making it unrecognizable and unusable by the body..
For high temperature cooking grapeseed oil and coconut oil are the best..


02/24/2012 - 8:51am

Just thinking - Olive oil - came from olives,
corn oil - from corn,
almond oil - from almond,
walnut oil - from walnut,
canola oil - came from ????? what seeds?


02/19/2012 - 8:31pm

Lots of people make bad comments about genetically modified foods but I have never heard anyone say what's wrong with it.Crops can be modified in ways that make them better,too.For example,plant modification has resulted in development of rice plants that produce much greater offspring,allowing the feeding of millions of people who might otherwise have starved.


02/04/2012 - 4:19am

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner