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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

Altruism or Autism ??

Anonymous

09/18/2013 - 6:01am

The only reason to use that wretched Canola oil is price. Even the arguably most expensive US food market, Whole Foods, uses it in virtually all of their prepared foods. It causes me absolutely unstoppable diarrhea! I have been literally imprisoned in my house for days, cleaning up a mess of soiled clothing, bedding, even floors. While I thank heaven for adult diapers, there are none that can really contain diarrhea. I have been embarrassed in stores and lied to in restaurants to get my trade. If I dare to eat out, I now make the kitchen show me their cans of oil. This problem has made my life a misery. I have no colon problems, cancer or even food allergies; it is only this wretched oil. There is nothing to be done for me since Immodium won't stop it and Lomotil will just slow it down. Eventually. It just has to get out of my body with whatever time it takes.
So I say, "Got diarrhea? Got canola oil?" Nothing else ever causes this for me!

Anonymous

09/14/2013 - 9:10am

I am a biochemist specialized in nutrition and studying Canola oil I have found a healthy structure, close to such of Olive oil, It seems to be a genetic effort (non trasgenic) to provide more economical and healthier alternative, mostly reccomended by real health researchers. Producers of high omega 6 oils are, apparently very much affraid of this alternative. If you travel from Brissels to paris and further to Bordeaux y ou will find plenty of beautifull yellow fielda in a country in which hearth disease is a fraction of ous here ein America... in the hands of corporations that try to sell poisonous products like high fructose using all kind of trategies including annonimous warning messages

Jorge Zapp

Anonymous

09/09/2013 - 10:55am

I also choose to use the alternatives. Fortunately I have been a fan of Coconut Oil, grapeseed oil, and now rice bran oil. I mix and change it up using butter. So fed up with foods being allowed and approved by our FDA, which now most consumers do not trust anymore. I was totally in the dark till my daughter in law shared this concern about rapeseed oil.
Suzanne in Roseburg, Or.

Anonymous

09/07/2013 - 1:51am

Altruism in kids has risen? Lol

Anonymous

09/06/2013 - 8:23pm

No such thing as good GMO? Almost every single plant you consume has been genetically mofified in the same fashion as Canola. The rape seed plant was cross-bred naturally. It was not developed in the lab. Commercially-availble canola is free from the rape-seed toxins thanks to genetic manipulaion. The poster who had the Canadian lab story posted is misinformed. Every dog is genetically modified. Every cow as well. Corn used to be 12 ft high so we naturally genetically modified it to make it easier to harvest with less "chaff". What this anonymous poster does not understand is there MIGHT be a significant difference between natural gene modification and artificial. Natural modification involves breeding while artificial uses laboratory-developed mechanisms to change the DNA. So now, I ask this poster to steer us in the right diecrction by naming the specific studies and clininical trials that indicate the dangers of GMO foods so we might all benefit from his/her expertise in the field.
By the way, this natural is okay belief is simply stupid. The following grow naturally: nightshade, peyote, marijuana, poison ivy, deadly mushrooms; poppy plants, cocaine leaves; need I go on? Finally, organic means a compound that has carbon. It's a misnomer when applied to foods. Nearly everything we eat is organic--even calcium carbonate supplements--one step above an ordinary pebble!

Anonymous

09/02/2013 - 6:52pm

The complaints about canola are not over the top. My boyfriend can not eat foods containing canola oil because he feels like he is going crazy and after he quits eating the canola oil cooked foods for a few weeks he feels normal and good. Studies have shown that dogs and other animals go crazy after eating a diet cooked/rich in canola oil-the GMO type of canola oil. So its up to you. Cancer is on the rise, heat attack, and altruism in kids has risen in the United States--what is that all about? Yes healthy organic food is very expensive-what is your option--brain cancer-allergies-diabetes and more? So if are over the top with hysteria-so what----We can eat what we want and so can you. My mom died of brain cancer-I'd like to not die this way!!

Anonymous

09/02/2013 - 6:09pm

All you smart folks scared to identify yourselves

BSPrice

Anonymous

08/31/2013 - 11:27am

Genetically modified rapeseed means Canola oil is GMO.
Before you think this is good for you some research is in order.

There is NO such thing as good GMO's.

Anonymous

08/25/2013 - 3:44pm

What will be will be.

Anonymous

08/16/2013 - 9:31am

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