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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

Not commenting about all of the above - only taste..... bought faux mayonnaise - called Vegenaise, the first ingredient is canola oil, which brought me here. There are no added flavorings, and al the rest of the ingredients are common - like apple cider vinegar and sea salt - and their taste is familiar.
So does it taste "better than Mayo" - as the label says?
Ahhh - NO! It has a very disagreeable aftertaste. And it could only be the canola oil!
Not worth ruining whatever other food you are using it with.
Maybe cooking with it is OK - but unless you regularly eat Mayonnaise by the jar full - I don't recommend canola oil as a substitute ingredient in something like this - even for the sake of good health!

Anonymous

01/22/2014 - 1:14pm

Canola oil is sold in clear containers, so exposure to light seems not to be a problem for this oil. Unprotected polyunsaturated oils are not very stable when exposed to light. This concerns me. Here is something from Dr. Gangemi's website: "The oil is removed by a combination of high temperature mechanical pressing and solvent extraction. Traces of the solvent (usually hexane) remain in the oil, even after considerable refining. Canola oil goes through the process of caustic refining, bleaching and degumming – all of which involve high temperatures or chemicals of questionable safety. And because it is high in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, (11% and 21% respectively) which easily become rancid and foul-smelling when subjected to oxygen and high temperatures, it must be deodorized. The standard deodorization process removes a large portion of the omega-3 fatty acids by turning them into trans fatty acids. The Canadian government lists the trans content of canola at a minimal 0.2 percent, but it is speculated that they are actually much higher due to the processing. This processing is much different from that of olive oil, which most often is first cold pressed to reduce the oxidation of the oil."

Anonymous

01/21/2014 - 11:29pm

So we smoke cigarettes, drink too much alcohol, we have rotund bodies and yet we can still grissle about Canola Oil,,, which shall it be? Lung cancer, cirohsis of the liver or dying from a heart attack from the extra flabber we carry around,,,, gee whizz,,,,, take a look at our habits before we target a food ,,,

Anonymous

01/19/2014 - 5:52am

Crisco, Wesson, Mazola oil is poison for your body. All vegetable oils are toxic for the body. Vegetables are healthy to eat but vegetables do not really produce oils. It's the way these so-called Vegetable oils are produced that make them so toxic Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids from Vegetable oils are very very toxic for the body. Cooking with Lard and Butter is the way to go,..But if you don't like Lard or Butter then use only Coconut oil or Palm oil to cook with.

Anonymous

01/16/2014 - 9:35am

I did a quick Google search about canola. All the results discussed the evils of canola but this page is the only one to discuss the real truth about it. Yes, there is a lot of genetically modified canola out there but as discussed in the article, the origins of canola are a result of cross-pollination which is a completely natural thing to do (that is how kiwis developed from strawberries, bananas and brussels sprouts). In HIGH doses, yes, rapeseed oil does have negative side effects but canola has lower acid and people don't usually entire bottles of canola.

And to the people complaining about Monsanto, they are clearly ignorant of canadian agriculture and believe anything they read on the internet because the major players in Canada are Pioneer (owned by DuPont) and Viterra (owned by Glencore).

Anonymous

01/15/2014 - 11:07am

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 - 10:01pm

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 - 4:58pm

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 - 5:20pm

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 - 12:36am

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

Anonymous

10/29/2013 - 6:30pm

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