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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

Nobody discusses problems with Olive Oil. I'll consider Canola Oil like 31 Flavors and I'll be happy with 30 WITHOUT the 31st. Just in case the huge amount of talk might be 10percent true. I like my health too much to bother with something so meaningless when there are so many other choices. The only reason it would have meaning is because there was money involved pushing it forward into the screen of my vision. That happens because it's the cheapest available. I like quality and will pay for it. I'm not a cheap ass chance taker.

Anonymous

04/01/2013 - 3:08pm

Thanks eating well for making clear your position. Now that I know eating well are for an oil that is high in trans-fats from the 300 degree celsius extraction process, high in hydrogenation so therefore free radical friendly, causes Vitamin E deficiency and other health issues because of its lack in healthy saturated fats and a host of other health compromising challenges, not to forget toxic due to the hexane used in processing which can't be fully removed, I know to ignore your advice and site in the future. It's easy now that we're able to compare your advice with the experts who have kindly explained in authoritative articles. Phew! That was so easy! :)

Anonymous

03/31/2013 - 4:08am

If you want a healthy high smoke point oil use Coconut Oil, or render your own lard or tallow from GRASS FED ANIMALS that are fed NON GMO, and SOY FREE!!!

Anonymous

03/27/2013 - 11:54am

Hi Gang,
What about safflower oil? I need a healthy, unprocessed oil with a high smoke point to saute with. Ideas? Much Appreciated !! Thank you ,
Kelly Welton

Anonymous

03/26/2013 - 1:29pm

Canola oil as well as soy ad corn oil are processed using Hexane. I would never use any of these oils simply for this reason. Peanut, olive, walnut and grape seed are expeller pressed . It seems not using chemicals to process would be much healtier. Although, I'm no expert and organic canola is available, no GMO's.

Anonymous

03/23/2013 - 7:29pm

Whenver a scientist is involved in food, IT'S BAD NEWS PERIOD! Canola oil is 100% genetically created with science from an unedible plant called rapeseed!

Anonymous

03/22/2013 - 2:45am

GMO modified

Anonymous

03/20/2013 - 4:23am

Canola = "Canada Oil Low Acid", it seems a heavily processed oil, can be used to lubricate machine. I will never eat this kind of "oil".

Anonymous

03/13/2013 - 1:58pm

You need to read the scientific literature on canola oil. Anyone can say ANYTHING on the internet and say that it is true. Check reliable sources. Is the person discussing Nutrition - really a nutrition professional such as a registered dietitian or a self proclaimed "Nutritionist" without any science background.

Anonymous

03/12/2013 - 3:26pm

They have not been able to breed all the poison out of the Rape plant's seeds (canola sounds like a beautiful flower doesn't it).

Dave Loewe

Anonymous

03/11/2013 - 12:27pm

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