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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Here is what I have learned about oils. During the 1970s mankind found a novel way to extract oils out of seeds. Canola oil is a genetically modified version of rapeseed oil and corn oil comes from the GMO corn. Grape seed oil comes from the seeds of grapes. We learned how to press the oils out of seeds using extreme force and by artificial means. To extract oils they use a hydraulic press and hexane gas. When the hexane, a well known carcinogenic gas hits the seeds, the oils flows out with little effort. The seeds go through a press and then through an extreme squeezing mechanism to remove every drop of oil. This process of extreme pressure, produces high heat and the oil now alone without the protection of the fibre and enzymes and it's encapsulated cellulose enclosure of the mother seed becomes rancid very quickly. This rancidity creates a pungent molecule that stinks. This smelly molecule is mother natures way of saying STOP! This stuff is bad and not worthy of human consumption.

Mother nature is a very smart and classy lady. She gave us olfactory nerves in our nose so that we can identify good from bad. So the stupid man, what does he do? Forget nature, lets remove the bad smell! Now the smelly oils are moved to a stink removal plant. At this plant the oil is heated to over 500 degree to burn off the smelly molecule. Whatever goodness there was in the oil is totally destroyed and what is left is a toxic liquid that even the insects, molds or bacteria won't eat. This oil will never go bad. Even if you forget this jar of canola oil on a shelf and your child grows up and finds it after 20 years in the back shelf and consumes it. The oils will still taste the same. Oils do not belong outside of the fruit which contains enzymes and fiber. it is protected deep inside the seed enclosed in a protective cellulose sheath. It was never meant to be consumed alone.


02/08/2015 - 2:30am

I have ony one coment, One teaspoon of canola in my system and I have stomach cramps and I have 5 to 30 min to reach a tolet. Also my poor grand daughter when going out for dinner she would have a blowout until my daughter found out it was caused by CANOLA oil. It is all about profit who cares about people!


02/06/2015 - 7:39pm

In my opinion, GMO products are not in their natural state. Our body recognizes natural substances. What does it do with products that have been scientifically altered to another state? Why are Americans getting sicker and sicker? Why are doctors not able to get us better without the use of multiple drugs? We need to get back to the basics of eating whole, fresh foods as much as possible. When we give our body what it needs, it will be healthier and happier.



01/29/2015 - 2:14pm

Anyone who is afraid of GMO clearly does not have an understanding of basic science. Ignorance and fear are far more harmful substances.


01/26/2015 - 3:14pm

The name "canola" was chosen by the board of the Rapeseed Association of Canada in the 1970s. The "Can" part stands for Canada and "ola" refers to oil.[5][6] However, a number of sources, including The Free Dictionary, continue to claim it stands for "Can(ada)+o(il)+l(ow)+a(cid).[7] The name was coined partially to avoid the negative connotations of rape.[8]


01/23/2015 - 9:17pm

Used canola oil and started experiencing head ache and my heart beat was first. I Dont knowwhether canola oil contributed. Somebody help me.


01/22/2015 - 3:39pm

Poor mans olive oil!


01/09/2015 - 2:16am

This site needs to get up to date on the use of hybridised/GMO oils and natural fats like butter, avocado and coconut oil. The science is now changing and butter certainly is better. For an oil to cook with use coconut. If you don't like the coconut taste you can get it filtered even more and having none of that strong taste. Coconut is more tolerant of the high cooking temperatures without oxidising like canola, sunflower, corn and soybean oil. These oils are now being implicated in some cancers. See articles on


01/08/2015 - 7:59am

Those against GMO know nothing about science.. And the ignorance continues to feed the hysteria.


01/07/2015 - 8:56pm

What a terrible article. It's so pro-GMO. Most "canola" seeds at least 90% is produced by Monsanto, which means the "canola" seeds are GMO. The process that is used to produce canola oil involves a chemical called Hexane. Its sad that this magazine should publish this article.


12/31/2014 - 5:16pm

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