Canola oil

On social media platforms, you will find a lot of wrong information. This is present about all fields and especially in the field of nutrition and wellness. As regards canola oil, you will find a lot of conflicting information. What is canola oil? Is it good for health? What are it’s pros and cons?

Table of Contents

What is canola oil?

Canola oil is extracted from a genetically modified version of the rapeseed plant. Thus, it is from a plant breed. Most restaurants in the USA use this vegetable oil for sauteeing, deep frying foods and as a dressing medium for salads etc. Moreover, it is also used in packaged foods such as granola bars, in bottled salad dressings, in cooking spray and also in the baking of breads.

Canola oil
Canola oil (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica)

This oil has a high smoke point and is neutral in taste. In extracting the oil from the canola seeds, the latter are first thoroughly cleaned. The makers then heat the seeds and flake it in order to get a better oil yield. These are passed through rollers to rupture and extract the oil. Chemicals are added to remove the color.

Pros of the oil

This oil is highly versatile. That is because it has a high smoke point, has a neutral taste and its texture is smooth. One can use it in the preparation of a number of food dishes and in different cooking methods. One can also use it in grilling and in marinades and sauces. It is refined and does not alter the taste or color of the food prepared in it.

The oil has lower saturated fats. A study published in 2011 stared that those who consume canola oil have lower blood cholesterol levels and that it is heart friendly. But newer studies have provided conflicting results.

Canola oil
Health benefits of canola oil (Source: Lybrate)

The crop is genetically modified and the plant and seeds are resistant to pests and herbicides. The yield of the crop is higher. But though GMO foods are approved and considered safe for human consumption, there are concerns about their long term safety. They can adversely affect public health, environment and cause crop contamination.

Cons of the oil

The oil has extremely high levels of omega 6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are good for the body in moderate mounts but excessive amounts can damage the health. The high quantities of omega 6 fatty acids can lead to body inflammation. This is the underlying cause of many chronic diseases of the body such as atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease, diabetes type 2 and the like.

This oil can worsen memory, say animal studies. Mice fed on a chronic diet with high amounts of canola oil had impaired memory. They also put on a lot of weight. Another human study showed that those on refined oil including canola oil for a year had lower memory function compared to those who consumed extra virgin olive oil.

Canola oil
Canola oil (Source: All recipes)

Read here: What is rosehip oil? Health benefits, usage, storage!

Thus, though FDA does not put this oil in the dangerous category, there is enough proof to say that it is not all that safe either. Having it once in a while is okay. But avoid it’s daily use. Have varied and whole foods that are minimally processed.