Advertisement

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.)

Download a Free Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!

COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

The canola plant was hybridized in Canada (Canadian oil = canola) in the late 60s, involving black mustard, leaf mustard and turnip rapeseed. The seeds had to be called something. I asked a farmer on the weekend about canola oil. He said they plant canola seeds. Like all oils, it is 100% fat and has 125 calories per tablespoon. It wasn't genetically modified.

Anonymous

10/16/2013 - 8:15pm

If you know of research that proves that canola oil is detrimental, cite your sources.
I hope that "altruism" has risen in kids in the U.S. Thanks for the laugh!

Anonymous

10/13/2013 - 11:42pm

Use Olive or sesame. Canola oil is 100% GMO

Anonymous

10/10/2013 - 9:14am

Really, if your going to post at least fully know what your talking about. Canola oil IS produced from the seed of the Canola plant. YES the variety used WAS NATURALLY crossbred between Rapeseed plants (Not frankenveggie style) To creae the Canola plant.Those who dont bother to fully research this assume its chuck full of erucic acid as Rapeseed oil is which can raise liver and heart lipids and is toxic in high amounts. Well its not and it is Heart healthy, in moderation. Unfortunately moderation is seldom practiced in the west. Now I dont know about you but when my grandma naturally crossbred her tomatos to create her own heirloom variety I wasnt all freaking out about GMO. Now actual GMO that scares me, I wont touch it, canola oil I have no problem with.

Anonymous

10/02/2013 - 3:46am

I couldn't bring myself to read the article after the first line. Canola oil comes from canola seeds? Really? Tell me, what is a canola? The word means oil from Canada. Canola oil comes from the seed from the rape plant. How can anyone take the writer serious when the first line dubs them an idiot? Canola seed indeed!

Anonymous

09/26/2013 - 11:48am

IS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED THE SAME AS GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GMO) ?

Anonymous

09/22/2013 - 11:12am

Altruism or Autism ??

Anonymous

09/18/2013 - 5:01am

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 - 8:10am

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 - 9:55am

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 - 12:51am

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner