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

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 - 11:53am

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 - 10:01am

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 - 1:34pm

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

Anonymous

07/03/2013 - 9:43pm

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

Anonymous

07/03/2013 - 9:28pm

Canola was genetically engineered via irradiation, which is not like the GE methods we usually talk about. No viruses and such are involved here.

Anonymous

06/29/2013 - 2:10pm

ANYTHING that is genetically engineered or "modified" is suspect to me, for the following reasons: 1) with a background in organic chemistry, I can pretty much recognize toxic organics on sight and 2) the theological reason that an infinitely intelligent Creator KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING when He created foods for animals and man. Having studied nutrition for decades on my own and been personal friends with the founder of one of the nation's leading suppliers of organic foods, Arrowhead Mills, I have only been reinforced in these convictions over the years. That is why I shop almost exclusively at the local Whole Foods Market—they share my knowledge and convictions, producing and marketing only unprocessed, whole, organic foods just as the Creator designed them (although they rarely give Him credit). My advice: use canola oil for cooking and eating about as readily as you would motor oil.

JC, Colorado

Anonymous

06/23/2013 - 10:05pm

I loved reading everyone's experience of canola. I agree that it is GMO, mostly, and truly try hard to avoid these foods. I already have digestive issues and am now on a Candida diet to try to heal myself. I am a yoga teacher for 2 decades and can't believe how many folks come to me with digestive issues. I just don't trust our gov't via the FDA to look out for our best interest any more. Please do your own research and decide for yourself. That's why most of us are here, right? Thank you all for sharing your information. I think the comment above about the misplaced anger was spot on. I read everything here and found nothing offensive. As we say in yoga- the world is coming from you, not at you! Namaste~

Anonymous

06/19/2013 - 2:40pm

To Anonymous; If your husband and his brother cannot tolerate canola oil then they should not consume it. To say that coconut oil is the healthiest for everyone is incorrect. I cannot consume coconut oil. If I do my tongue swells, I get itchy and red, and I throw up. Therefore I do not eat it. That in turn does not mean that all people should stay away from it any more than all people should stay away from canola oil.
I have cooked with rapeseed oil for many years and have no issues.

I am tired of folks saying not to eat certain foods across the board. If it bothers you then don't eat it!

A chef tired of hearing all of this panicky crap.

Anonymous

06/18/2013 - 4:18pm

Geez I was just trying to find out what the best oil is to cook with. Didn't hink I'd encounter such disturbing posts as I have on this site. God Bless every1 and to each their own. If people are so filled with rage over other people's choices no oil in the world would better than any other. And I thought road rage was bad. Last time I visit here.
R. Becker

Rhea_31

06/15/2013 - 3:02pm

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