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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

Don't let this article fool you. Canola oil does not come from canola seeds. Canola stands for "Canadian Oil". It is all genetically engineered, GMO rapeseed oil. It has no right to call itself organic, except that nothing will bother rapeseed... it has no pests. My family boycotted it and noticed within a week that our arthritis/ joint aches and my red face disappeared. Sometimes, it accidentally gets eaten, and the symptoms appear. Do not be fooled by the food industry or their friends.

Anonymous

06/05/2013 - 3:22pm

While I agree with the poster about GMO foods, Maltodextrin is not a genetically modified product. It is enzymated, just as your digestive system would enzymate an ear of corn after eating it. I have used maltodextrin for several years in my protein shakes with no side effects.

Anonymous

05/12/2013 - 8:35pm

Great article! Thank you.

Confused by the poster who details why he/she cannot purchase any oil other than canola, and then says "don't force your needs down my throat." How in the world is anyone forcing needs down someone else's throat by sharing information about food safety? Seems like an odd reaction. If someone had posted about wanting to outlaw the sale of canola oil, the response would make sense. Otherwise, it seems like misplaced anger. We're all just doing our best, making the best choices we can for ourselves and our families; I for one appreciate learning as much as I possibly can about how to use my limited funds to make the healthiest possible choices.

Anonymous

05/09/2013 - 11:48pm

Cold pressed grape seed oil from Italy, Spain, etc., has a high flash point before it oxidizes and is an excellent source of clean oil. NON-GMO is the only way to go. GMOs taken internally disrupt digestion by altering the genes of the friendly gut bacteria; thereby, not allowing proper digestion. Improperly digested food will ferment and produce gastrointestinal toxins that cause many ailments and disorders including IBS, Crohns disease, etc.. Mel-Fry canola oil from Ventura Foods, Canada is GMO and used in many restaurants. GMOs cause spontaneous abortions and sterility in cattle. GMOs have created a new pathogen that attacks GMO plants. cattle and chickens given a choice between non-GMO and GMO grains always choose non-GMO. Boycott GMOs to stay healthy! Buyer beware!

Article: www.selfgrowth.com/articles/attention-crohn-s-and-ibd-sufferers-harvard-researchers-discover-the-obvious-about-how-gene

The genes of genetically modified foods are split with the E. coli bacteria, Bt toxin and other “gene promoters” that leave the bacterium’s residue in your gut that causes IBD, IBS, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. It didn't get there by accident. The statistical increase in digestive diseases and colorectal cancer can be directly traced to the creation of genetically modified foods and the addition of dangerous addictive chemicals in packaged foods.

The effects of genetically modified fruits and vegetables, factory farmed meats and addictive chemical additives, such as MSG, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin and others, caused one author to be diagnosed with malignant colon cancer.

Anonymous

05/02/2013 - 10:47pm

We are on a low income budget:

Olive oil burns too easily ad is too expensive
Peanut oil is too expensive
Coconut oil is too expensive
One person in family is allergic to corn - so no corn oil
2 people are allergic to soy - so no "vegetable" oil - to the person who said vegetable oil is canola/rapeseed, you're wrong, it is a blend that s typically mostly soy oil (read the label).

Canola oil is our ONLY viable option.

My hat is off to those of you who can afford to buy whatever you want. If you want to, and it makes sense for you, then do it, but don't force your needs down my throat. We can't all do what we'd like to do if we don't have the money to do so.

Anonymous

04/30/2013 - 2:39pm

Great Blog. I add this Blog to my bookmarks

Anonymous

04/28/2013 - 2:42am

certified organic food cannot be Genetically Modified. It is required to be non-GMO...

Anonymous

04/26/2013 - 8:39am

Wow! This is a great post and this is so true

Anonymous

04/25/2013 - 10:52am

I love to saute vegetables and I love Canola oil. Thanks to who ever created such a great product.
Bob Schuster

Anonymous

04/21/2013 - 10:43pm

One little-known source of trans fat is canola / rapeseed oil. The trans fat occurs as a result of processing, which takes place at high temperature. The raw seed begins with a high level of beneficial omega-3 oils, however these tend to oxidise during processing producing off, rancid odours. During deodorisation, some of the omega-3 fatty acids are converted to trans.

The proportion converted to trans is highly variable - in general, UK oils have low levels of trans, however Researchers at the University of Florida at Gainesville, found that liquid canola / rapeseed oils sold in the USA contained as much as 4.6 percent trans fat. Currently this trans fat content is not usually listed on labels and consumers have no way of knowing it is present.

Thanks to generous subsidies to EU growers, this is now one of the cheapest and most widespread vegetable oils. In general, if an oil is made from anything other than canola / rapeseed, this will be stated on the label. If an oil is simply described as "vegetable oil" - it is likely to be made from canola / rapeseed. If you want to be certain of the trans content of your brand of vegetable oil, you will have to write to the manufacturer and ask.

Canola is also a popular choice for hydrogenation - further raising the trans fat levels:

Anonymous

04/21/2013 - 10:09pm

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