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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

I have been using it for about 25 years; about two tablespoons a day. My triglycerides are in the 40-50 range, very low. A couple years ago I was sort of surprised When the WashingtonPost published an article that stated that Omega-3's (canola oil in my case) will not lower your cholesterol levels but will lower the triglycerides. And that explained by I had to start taking a statin drug to lower my LDL levels.

Anonymous

12/30/2013 - 11:01pm

The grower in question has made a lecture tour of lies about Monsanto and the anti-GMO crowd just follows along. If you want the truth, read the court documents.

Anonymous

11/07/2013 - 5:58pm

Hi,

There are 2 different issues here. Some of the Canola oil comes from GMO plants that are Round-Up ready.
Meaning he farmer can spray the crop with Round-Up as the plants (and weeds) sprout, and thus save a tractor pass.

But the transformation of Rapeseed into Canola is the result of biotechnology (including radiation induced mutations and gene splicing. And thus is a BAD THING according to "purists".

Question: can Canola oil from non-GMO plants (not resistant to Round-Up and thus requiring more tractor passes and oil consumption) be considered "Organic" even if the plant itself is the product of modern bio-technology?

Anonymous

11/01/2013 - 6:20pm

What do I think of Canola Oil hmm? Not that much . It may have a place in the marketplace and once a profitable product it is very hard to backtrack. It may take years to prove. Look at cigarettes.
The pain that endured in my intestines before I became conscious of the Canola Oil aftermath is very unsettling. My young daughter was diagnosed with peanut and mustard seed allergies. The mustard seed is related in a distant way to canola or the real name Rapeseed. A lot of the comments here seem to be spot on in my opinion. The Canadian invention of the canola plant to begin this huge push for canola oil is interesting and disturbing. The pain and discomfort that encompasses one varies no doubt. I can tell you that I prefer the true healthy olive oil sparingly, I would even prefer butter very sparingly before I would put canola to my lips. The lubricating of airplanes with this type of oil really turned my eye to reading further about it years ago when my daughter was having digestive problems. Upon reading that this oil is cousin to mustard seed I had her tested for an allergy. (As people who have one may have the other unbeknownst to themselves or their parents) She turned out to be allergic to canola. Since this discovery approx.4 yrs ago we comb labels to make certain that this oil is not present. Eating out can prove to be educational. We are fortunate to have a pretty good handle on what to order to avoid the canola. Why do oils get so far into the diets of the public ,saturated if you will, without the regard for the health of all. The boost to the remedial medicine must be enormous, from headache med to heartburn med for two examples.My hope is that this oil is not put into the entire prepared food or frozen waffles for example. I guess it has been a wake up call ..that unprocessed foods are best and that making your label reading a priority is vitally important . Thank you and Best of Health to all.

Anonymous

10/30/2013 - 1:36am

Canola, olive, vegetable and etc. there are all the same use it moderately.....

Anonymous

10/29/2013 - 7:30pm

If the oil doesn't come from something you would eat in it's natural form, such as olives, avocados, coconuts etc.. don't eat it! And unless corn oil comes from non GMO corn, skip it. Did you know that canola oil was originally produced for commercial, industrial use and not for consumption? Think about it. I don't care how much they "purified" or modified it for human consumption. I will not eat it. And it's getting very hard to find commercially produced foods that don't contain it which is why I only shop at my local co-op or eat at home! This stuff is not good for you despite what you read. Butter is even a healthier alternative because it is real food your body recognizes.

Anonymous

10/29/2013 - 10:32am

canola comes from the words Canada and oil (ola). it is a hybrid rapeseeds from several different mustard plants, resulting in a new mustard plant called Canola, from which comes the oil. This plant has been GMO by Monsanto to be Round-up resistant, which is the problem. Now due to the pollination means, bees, it is found in over 90% of the crops. Would love to see Farmers in a class-action on the pollution of their fields by GMO. Instead, in Canada, the supreme court ruled in favor of Monsanto when the sued a farmer for NOT PAYING for the LICENSING FEE when the resistant gene was found in his crop because his argument was that it had "blown" in which is not the way pollination occurs in the Brassicaceae family.

Anonymous

10/28/2013 - 1:07pm

actually, 90% of Canola seeds are GMO: by Monsanto, which has genetically modified new cultivars of rapeseed to be resistant to Roundup. They actually sued for compensation from farmers where the "Roundup Ready" gene was found in their fields without paying a license fee. Since bees do the pollinating of rapeseed plants including canola (the hybrid result crossing at least 3 different mustard plants back in the 60s), I would have counter sued for the pollution of my fields with this Round-up Ready pollen. But because the farmers wrongly claimed that it had "blown in" the Supreme Court of Canada found in favor of Monsanto's patent infringement claim for unlicensed growing of Roundup.
In March 2008, an out-of-court settlement between Monsanto and Schmeiser, one of the farmers, reached an agreement for Monsanto to clean up the entire GMO-canola crop on Schmeiser's farm at a cost of $660. oh brother!

Anonymous

10/28/2013 - 12:56pm

hey i dnt mind using canola spray or canola oil for frying

Anonymous

10/27/2013 - 1:03am

To the person who claims he/she spews diarrhea all over the house like a paint sprayer: consider you may have an extreme reaction to it solely due to an allergic reaction, and some people, I'd say most, have no problem with the oil. I'm a chef that works in a closed environment (a large oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico) using canola oil exclusively, and there are no such complaints.

Anonymous

10/26/2013 - 11:50am

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