Is Canola Oil Healthy?

Is Canola Oil Healthy?

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What is Canola Oil?

Canola oil or LEAR (low-erucic acid rapeseed) is the edible version of rapeseed oil. Rapeseed belongs to Brassicaceae family including three different species- B. rapa, Brassica napus, and B. juncea.

Rapeseed oil contains >40% erucic acid and was used as an economical source for non-food industrial purpose. In 1970s under the aegis of Canadian scientists, LEAR turned into Canola Oil (Canada + oil+ low + acid) with erucic acid less than 2% and glucosinolates less than 30 mmol/g. In present times, around 90% of the worlds canola crop is genetically modified.

Lipid Composition of Canola Oil
  • Linoleic acid: 21%
  • Alpha-linolenic acid: 11% [Omega-6 and Omega-3 is in a 2:1 ratio]
  • Plant sterols (0.530.97%)
  • Tocopherols (7001,200 ppm)
  • Palmitic Acid: 4%
  • Stearic Acid 2%
  • Trans Fat 0.4%

Canola Oil Benefits

Is canola oil healthy? It is one of the major concerns of health conscious people. The common canola oil benefits are as follows

Reduces Abdominal Fat Intake of two tablespoons of canola oil for 4 weeks reduces belly fat by 0.11 kilograms, or a quarter pound, according to a study by Penny M. Kris-Etherton, reported in The Obesity Society's Annual Scientific Meeting. The effect might be due to the presence of monounsaturated fats (MUFA).

Canola Oil Reduces Abdominal Fat

Canola Oil Reduces Abdominal Fat

Reduces Cholesterol:

Research shows that canola oil-based diets can reduce total cholesterol concentrations in hypercholesterolemic individuals when compared to saturated fatty acids. Total cholesterol concentrations were higher in canola oil versus olive oil, but no difference was recorded when compared to sunflower oil.

Insulin - Canola oil based diet lowered fasting plasma glucose levels and showed positive results in modulating insulin and glucose levels when compared with an SFA diet.

Lin Lin and team have consolidated results of various clinical studies involving canola oil. The report was published in 2013 in Nutrition Reviews.


Canola oil is 63% mono-saturated fatty acid (MUFA) and 28% poly-saturated fatty acid (PUFA). The dietary recommendation for fat intake is 30% to 35% of calories consumed. According to American Heart Association only 7% should be incorporated from the saturated fat. The fat intake should be majorly, from MUFA and PUFA.


High Oleic (>70%) safflower and sunflower oil and olive oil are also rich in MUFA. They are not genetically modified. Olive and sunflower oils contain Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol that improves lung function. They also prove a good option for the general health of skin and hair. Overall, sunflower oil and canola oil showed similar antithrombotic effects as against a high SFA diet.

Oil blends withflaxseed oil or high ALA was more effective in total cholesterol concentrations reduction. For those who avoid Canola oil because it is a genetically modified low euric acid oil, other MUFA rich oils like safflower, sunflower and olive oil are better options.

Canola Oil Concerns: Faceoff

Is canola oil good for you? It is a question that is in every ones mind.
Hexane is used to extract the maximum amount of oil from canola seeds.Even other refined vegetable oils use hexane for extraction.
Canola oil has traces of trans fat.Other oils like walnut, soybean, sunflower and others too have traces of trans fat. Commercial deep-fat frying operations are a concern for all oils.
Heating bleached canola oil at 220C for about ten hours reduces linolenic acidCanola oil on the shelves still contains 9-11% of natural ω-3linolenic acid. 
Extra virgin grades of olive oil are processed as any other refined, bleached, deodorized (RBD) oils, but they are devoid of hexane and trans-fat.

The Harmful Effects of Canola Oil

The harmful effects of canola oil can be summarized as
  • Canola oil is genetically modified.
  • Contains gamma-tocopherol form of Vitamin E, which is known to reduce lung function, and raises instances of asthma.
  • Contains Hexane and trans-fat
  • Canola oil is low acid version of rapeseed oil which was used for industrial purpose. Rapeseed is a toxic plant and toxicity is still present in Canola oil.
  • The colorless, flavorless and odorless properties of canola oil are due to processing of several chemicals.
  • Canola oil contains erucic acid and glucosinolates
  • Canola oil based diet showed significant increase only in mean bleeding time and 6-keto prostaglandin1 production; but not in other
  • Canola oil does not influence energy expenditure or body composition in a significant way.
  • Studies of anti-carcinogenic properties of canola oil are inconclusive and equivocal.

Allergies Due To Canola Oil

In 1975, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave canola oil a GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) notification. The GMO modification helped to reduce the erucic acid levels from 45% to less than 2%. Erucic acid is an omega-9 and some people are sensitive to it. Proteins in canola oil can have adverse reaction with the human immune system. Canola oil allergy symptoms include vomiting, nausea, chest pain, asthma, nasal congestion, inflammation, skin rashes, respiratory problem and digestive problems. Antihistamine medication can help to alleviate mild allergic reactions. It is believed that those who have peanut allergy may too be allergic to canola oil.

Canola Oil Can Cause Allergies

Elucidation of myths and facts of canola oil shows that the cons or the harmful aspect of canola oil has tipped the scales. Compared to SFA, canola oil lowers the cholesterol owing to its MUFA content. This aspect cannot tip the scale to the positive side. Olive oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, mustard oil has high MUFA content and are not genetically modified. It is best to consult a health professional or a Dietitian before incorporating Canola oil in your diet.

Nutrition Facts for Canola Oil

The nutritional values of "Canola Oil" per 100 grams are:

Nutrition Summary
Total Calories 884
Protein 0 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 0 g
NutrientsAmount%Daily Value
Calcium, Ca 0 mg 0 %
Copper, Cu 0 mg 0 %
Iron, Fe 0  mg 0 %
Magnesium, Mg 0 mg 0 %
Manganese, Mn 0 mg 0 %
Phosphorus, P 0 mg 0 %
Potassium, K 0  mg 0 %
Selenium, Se 0 mcg 0 %
Sodium, Na 0 mg 0 %
Zinc, Zn 0 mg 0 %
Vitamin A 0  IU 0 %
Vitamin C 0 mg 0 %
Vitamin B6 0 mg 0 %
Vitamin E 17.46 mg 58.2 %
Vitamin K 71.3  mcg 89.12 %
Riboflavin 0  mg 0 %
Thiamin 0 mg 0 %
Folate, DFE 0  mcg 0 %
Niacin 0  mg 0 %
Sugars 0 g
Fiber 0  g 0 %
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Water 0 g
Carotene, alpha 0 mcg
Carotene, beta 0  mcg
Choline 0.2 mg
Lycopene 0  mcg
View all +
Data source: USDA Nutrient Database, R25
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

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