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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

It is very posisionis do your own serious research. There are so many other healthy oils to choose from, so choose one of them, like olive oil.

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Anonymous

07/28/2013 - 2:36pm

If you think Canola oil is safe, then you probably think Monsanto is not evil. I have done massive researching, and find that other countries (that are not prostituted to Monsanto and other giant corporations) have demonstrated conclusivel that Canola Oil and other GMOs are responsible for massive to US children and adults. We have epidemics in diabetes, MS, Parkinson's, autism, cancer, etc.etc. Why do you think these are BANNED in so many other countries!!! .

Anonymous

07/24/2013 - 4:31pm

I've talked to the scientific team members that modify the rapeseed to produce the canola, in Saskatchewan, Canada. The scientist remove a long chain fatty acid from the seed. They, the scientist, do not like the idea of GMO, and have written articles and letters to the company, and the government asking them to stop this practice, until further studies can be done to find out the long term effects on humans. The company and the government have told them to keep quiet. NONE of the scientists who modify the seed use canola oil. They use Olive Oil and Butter.

CG in TN

Anonymous

07/24/2013 - 1:53pm

Don't get a dog because it is a genetically engineered wolf. Please. Get a grip. Do you eat seedless watermelon? Everything with a gene is being modified everyday. We can never predict all consequences and should watch for unintended ones, but the hysteria and demonization is so over the top.

Anonymous

07/22/2013 - 1:38pm

The modification of Canola oil was simply the selection of seed which contained less erucic acid to minimize the level of erucic acid in the oil. Rapeseed initially contained 4%.
It isn't genetically modified through non environmental means, just through cross breeding.
The reason for this is that people believed, due to reports from from earlier studies, that erucic acid was poisonous. Turns out, it is harmful, but only for Rats as they don't possess the ability to digest vegetable fats.
The Rapeseed was cross bred and went through careful seed selection to reduce the level of erucic acid and increased the level of Oleic Acid. If you still think erucic acid is poisonous, then I suggest you stop eating Kale, Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli, which are the vegetables which contain the highest level of erucic acid.
The hype behind the 'dangers' of canola is a product of people not knowing enough about what they are talking about.
Someone hears a term, like genetically modified, and without digging in to learn the true meaing as it pertains to that specific situation, they paint it with the danger brush and try to 'warn' other people of the 'dangers'.
I would definitely agree, however, that we, as a society, are overprocessing foods for the sake of profitability and that we need to be demanding natural foods. But, it is also important to be able to make the distinction between processed foods, foods genetically modified using chemicals or radiation, and foods 'modified' using natural selection and cross polination processes.
Did you know that many vegetable producers pick produce in the summer months and then house them with methylcyclopropene gas in order to retard the ripening process so they can sell them during the winter months when the prices are much higher. Why? Because people are demanding fresh vegetables in the winter. And companies are always looking for more and more profitability.
Did you also know that the world produces enough food to supply three times the world's needs, but due to waste and distribution challenges, we still have people starving to death?
If you want to stand on a soap box and protest anything to do with food, protest that. Canola and it's perceived flaws are still way down the list of things to make noise about than the fact that we are wasting an insane amount of food each year while people starve.

Anonymous

07/19/2013 - 1:10pm

Lol I fear some people worry too much. I put a tablespoon of canola oil directly in to my protein shakes to gain weight. Afterall, one tablespoon is about 140 calories. I still haven't had any problems(: we'll see how I am when I age more, but I've always been pretty healthy. I think if you expose yourself to a lot you build tolerances and hopefully I'll never have any issues down the road, but when i do, i'll compensate for it. I'll do what i have to do to stay healthy. My advice is to not stress so much about certain small things.

Anonymous

07/16/2013 - 12:53pm

I do not like canola oil because every time I cook with this oil make me sick and it takes hours for me to back to feel okay. I think it is poison and really scare to use this oil ever
Again

Anonymous

07/16/2013 - 11:01am

I eat mostly organic, always vegan. I love canola oil. I feel great every time I eat it. I'm going to be 50 in a couple months and most people guess me in my mid 30's. Screw all of you.

Anonymous

07/06/2013 - 2:34pm

If it's GMO then its dangerous to me...

Anonymous

07/03/2013 - 10:43pm

If it's GMO then its dangerous to me... I know because I've done my research.

Anonymous

07/03/2013 - 10:28pm

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