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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

"Genetically modifying a plant and then consuming that plant causes genetic modification in those eating it" Are you serious?! Everything on the planet genetically modifies it's self over years. Always adapting to soil, climate and pests. How is it the average person's height has grown and average life-span has increased 10-20 years, in the past 100 years? It's better nutrition. (and a few chemicals called medicine) You can add Canola to better nutrition. There's no science behind banning GMO's. It's bad press and herd-mentality.

Anonymous

09/24/2012 - 10:14pm

Well, why not just stop eating altogether! Let's all become anorexic and die by the way you slam it all. It makes a person afraid to leave their homes.

Anonymous

09/27/2012 - 4:34pm

Canola oil is not regulated by the FDA because the rapeseed plant from which it was derived is not considered a "food". The processing is highly questionable and when it is banned from infant formulas that should tell you something! It was first made in Canada and thus the name "Can" "oil" = Canola.
It's cheap to produce and requires no Federal regulation which should tell us why the industry says its so "wonderful" for us.
Anonymous

Anonymous

10/10/2012 - 4:53pm

First, it is easy to say all sorts of falsehoods when you are signing "anonymous"! Second, nature modifies at a much slower rate than biochemists, therefore humans are not generally harmed by the removal/addition of genes in plants.
Kristi Case, LPN

Anonymous

10/24/2012 - 3:27pm

I think too many people have too many opinions based on bad research!

Anonymous

10/27/2012 - 8:14pm

Not one of these sad, ignorant conspiracy theory people in here have posted one SOUND study against canola oil. Not one, so I find it irritating that people convince themselves something is bad for them when there is no evidence of it. Don't want to eat it? Don't, stop trying to scare people when you have nothing to back up your ridiuclous claims.

Anonymous

11/04/2012 - 11:48am

Coconut oil does NOT clog arteries! It is impossible for coconut oil to clog arteries! It becomes liquid at 76 degrees F.; and since the normal healthy body temperature is 98.6 degrees F., the oil remains liquid in the body and cannot congeal or become solid - which it would have to do to be able to clog arteries. It has no cholesterol, it is not carcinogenic, and does not break down under high temperatures. It also does not require refrigeration and has a shelf life of three years at room temperature. Under those circumstances, it does not become rancid. However, this only applies to unrefined, raw, organic coconut oil. It is also excellent as a body and hair oil. You can go to amazon.com to find literature that will inform you of the benefits of coconut oil, or sunfood.com, which sells it and has literature and information about it as well. Corn oil, canola, and "vegetable" oils are the worse. It seems that the Italian Consumer Association DOESN'T know everything about oils, believe me.

Anonymous

11/06/2012 - 11:50pm

What about the petroleum solvents and other chemicals used to extract this 'healthy and natural' food?
How about the deodoringing, colouring, hydrogenating? You might as well melt the container and spread that. The difference is minimal.

Anonymous

11/08/2012 - 11:24pm

Please tell me what the FDA has to say about Canola oil in butter to make it spreadable?

drogerg9@cox.net

Anonymous

11/09/2012 - 6:35pm

RE: the GMO's please post;

Fresh grown tomatoes from the vine with no pesticides taste like Tomatoes........the tomatoes sold in the large grocery store chains taste like cardboard! Fresh cucumbers, my first was a few weeks ago.......OMG I fell in love. Tomatoes last on the shelf at least a week, and in the refrigerator longer.........How do I know, because I tested it this season. The large companies that produce our food now have taken the flavor out of the food to focus on the all mighty $. I'm not against the almighty "$" but, if it hinders my health and my enjoyment of the product ........well, let's think of another option. I say "no" to GMO's until they can prove to me they are safe.......and they actually taste good. I avoid anything with corn and soy at this time as well.......I have purchased non GMO canola. I am trying to educate myself on canola oil. Which is what led me to this site.

Anonymous

11/12/2012 - 1:21pm

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