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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So called Canola oil, derived from rapeseed, is always refined. Why? Because in its unrefined state it is extremely bitter and nobody would buy it. The process of refining it damages its much touted Omega-3 content and actually converts some of the Omega 3 into trans-fats!


07/03/2012 - 9:09am

Cold pressed organic coconut oil is the best oil for cooking at high temperatures. I got rid of canola and corn oil for cooking.


07/02/2012 - 11:55pm

I like olive oil, but I'm told that the smoke point is too low to use for deep frying, that and it's very expensive. The Canola oil is much cheaper, that and corn oil is what I use now.


06/22/2012 - 1:23pm

Do NOT consume this crap! It is VERY dangerous. Monsanto and other CORRUPT corporations LIE to you about "food" they make up. They manipulate the labels. All they care about is making extra profits $$$$$$. It's cheaper to "modify" a food. They are destroying your health! DON'T be naive and stupid. Corporations are FASCIST and EVIL!


06/11/2012 - 6:34am

When humans modify plants to meet their needs, they can risk making the original plants less likely to survive in non human-altered conditions. And that is the real danger of modification. Use of pesticides, and plants altered for herbicide resistance is a greater, and very real concern. If you are sick of hearing about it, don't read about it, but denying the danger is just stupid.


06/10/2012 - 2:06pm

I am cooking with it right now. How is selictive breeding of plants not natural, we (humans) have been doing it for thousands of years.


06/08/2012 - 6:48pm

This sentence made me want to do a face plant on my keyboard.

"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."

IF that's a concern for you. It should be a concern for everyone. Amazing that people are so unconcerned about the sad and toxic state of our food supply.


06/08/2012 - 12:44pm

The post below mine: SPOT ON. THANK YOU!!
I too am fed up with people believing that GMOs aren't "natural" and we're playing god. For fuck's sake, people, pull your head out of your ass.


06/07/2012 - 8:55am

A lot of silly enlightened people commenting here. To the point that this doesn't make any sense at all. Gladly by knowing virtually nothing about canola oil I can tell the most of these oil scientists commenting here know as much as me. The dude that kills insects spraying canola oil, and they die on touch (probably he is buying fake canola oil from a scammer). That was the funniest thing I have seen in a while, can't wait until the MythBusters test that claim. Reminds me of the CocaCola myths, some that I've never even heard off, obviously all busted.


05/30/2012 - 2:41pm

Lay off the "nature has given us" crap. The anti everything crowd seems to forget that "genetically engineered" doesn't always mean that it was "created" in a lab by evil scientists. In the case of Canola oil it's simply a matter of rapeseed being selectively bred until the desired results were achieved (lower acid). It does NOT contain DNA from other organisms injected into it.

There's not a single fruit or vegetable any of us put in our mouths that doesn't technically fit the definition of "genetically modified organism". If you're determined to avoid GMOs then you better stop eating because all common fruits and vegetables (and livestock and poultry) have been selectively bred for hundreds and thousands of years. Basically any food that isn't the same as it was when it was discovered in the wild has been modified. All of it. That "heirloom" organic tomato you paid $2 for at the farmer's market? MODIFIED.

Personally I think people would be much better off if they worried more about the amount of food they shove into their fat ugly faces, instead of whether or not it has Canola oil in it.


05/25/2012 - 1:53am

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