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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Renowned cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, author of Best Selling "Wheatbelly Book" says that Canola Oil should be avoided if it is GMO. Most Canola Oil is GMO! He has cured many patients with his Grain Free, White Potato Free, White Rice Free, Canola Oil Free and hydrogenated oil free diet. I'll follow his advice and be safe.


06/06/2015 - 4:26pm

THERE ISN'T ANY RAPESEED In MUSTARD GAS! There isn't any mustard in mustard gas either. It was named for the smell. Canola was developed by same hybridization techniques used for thousands of years for everything from roses to horses. Much of the canola sold in the States is GMO, like many other things. Non GMO Canola oil is available at all three of the conventional grocery stores within four miles of me.



05/16/2015 - 7:09pm

Are opinions facts? Not one person has given a research project reference. What can we believe then?


05/16/2015 - 2:02pm

Science is based on observations and data that are replicable in constants. I think we all realize that much of research can be a mixed bag when based on money, biases and conflicts of interest. There are too many variables to qualify much as being absolute so we look at trends and outcomes. Blogs can be insightful, but they are nothing more than opinions, in some cases, drawing from little data yet taking incredible leaps to make a conclusion and avoiding critical thinking. One observation we do have correct, that being; there are a lot of obese people today and the population is growing in number. Poor eating habits with little physical activity appear to play key roles into what is known today as metabolic syndrome (hypertension, hypothyroidism, diabetes and heart disease). I don't think Canola, Corn, Olive, Safflower, or Sunflower oils are the only culprits here, it's our lifestyle choices, stress we engage in and the sense of immediacy that are the real nemeses here.


05/11/2015 - 10:43am

All of you posting who decry 'unnatural foods':
If you cook your food, it is altering the food unnaturally. You are a hypocrite.
If you use any water but that taken directly from a stream or rainwater, it is unnatural. You are a hypocrite.
If you use refrigeration, it is unnatural. You are a hypocrite.
If you take any medication or supplements, get vaccines, or injections when ill, it is unnatural. You are a hypocrite.

Get the point? You are boring Luddites objecting to that which is not 'natural' unless it is something unnatural that you are doing.

Man has spent ten thousand years trying to separate himself from nature. Nature is not good. Nature is not bad. Nature doesn't entertain such concepts, it just is. You have no rights granted by nature. If something is capable of turning you into a meal, nature doesn't care. And that's why we process and modify our foods.


05/10/2015 - 11:21am




04/28/2015 - 10:06pm

I think it is interesting that people think that the produce section of any grocery store actually contains fruits that "have been used for centuries". Most of the fruits and grains that we eat today bear little or no resemblance to their ancestors. Have you ever eaten a seedless grape, orange or watermelon? Those fruits didn't exist 60 years ago let alone in centuries past. The "whole grains" you buy today look very different from those of 200 years ago (an instant in the life span of some grain species) due to generations of farmers who have cross-bred or selected plants based on their ability to produce plentiful seed or for specific qualities in the grains.
To the people commenting on this blog post - do you know a farmer? Do you know someone whose livelihood depends on the land, plants and animals that they care for? Do you know where food actually comes from besides a store or an urban farmers' market? Meet a farmer - get to know them. They are people and they have families they want to keep safe and healthy. They are passionate about supplying the world with safe, healthy food. If they don't keep this social promise to society, their income depends on it (oh, that income is also at the mercy of weather and disease infestations that they have no control over - what if your income decreased or increased with every rain or cool day??). Science is great if you understand it, but getting to know an actual farmer might give you more insight into our food supply than any other source. There are many exceptional blogs written by farmers and their family members where they share their passion for their calling.


04/24/2015 - 3:20pm

I suppose whole grains are good for you too ? Good for all the people that are making $$$$ from the diabetes epidemic.


04/21/2015 - 6:49pm

I love seeing the comments below articles like this... it is so interesting to see everybody's perspective and opinion :). Genetically modified organisms are (in my own personal opinion, based on background in biology and genetic research) in most cases perfectly healthy for human consumption. Yes, it is extremely important to always be carefull in scientific advancement that our society does not create a "frankenstein's monster" especially in the case of the Bt vector, but for thousands and thousands of years humans have used their God-given intelligence to create amazing things and make new discoveries. Among these genetically modified foods are kiwi, broccoli, grapefruit, kale and thousands of other healthy foods touted by many health food websites as delicious and "natural" sources of vitamins, fiber, etc. I think that while eating healthy natural foods is a MUST for many, many reasons, the anti-GMO bandwagon seems to be a little bit... rabid and based more on rumor and fear than fact. I have an aunt who is very into eating natural foods, which is great for her and I respect her choice to try and ensure her and her kids' health, but she doesn't believe in microwaves because she is afraid of the nuclear radiation... actually microwaves cook with electromagnetic waves not uranium, the same harmless waves that you are exposed to all the time. Besides, why are we all arguing about whether to cook with coconut oil or canola when millions of people have far worse problems in the world that we could eradicate if we just worked together?


04/16/2015 - 1:22am

I think that they tell us it is good for us just to make us spend our money and they get rich. Natural is best. Processed food is so bad and all the additives like salt and sugar. Just look at all the fat and unwell people around, then they rush to the doctor to get him to fix them and they get more poison, pills.



03/28/2015 - 5:54am

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