Canola oil - good or bad?

I have a question on a topic that I am sure appears in this forum from time to time. It is about Canola oil.
For the past 18 years, i.e. ever since I was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 and started looking seriously at what I was eating, I have consistently used only virgin olive oil for cooking and in salads. I figured its been around for thousands of years with no controversy about its health benefits, unlike the competitor Canola oil. Many people, including my daughter are adamant that Canola oil is genetically modified, dangerous and to be avoided at all costs.
Now that I am retired and only working in a low paying part time job, I have to budget. At my local grocery store half a gallon of Canola oil is about $4 while a pint of olive oil is close to $10.
Research I have done indicates most of the negative talk about Canola oil is based on myths and misinformation. They say that the evolution from rapeseed to canola is more like a farmer cloning two types of pears, which has nothing to do with gm.
Anyone with strong opinions on this matter?

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Canola oil is made from rapeseed. Rapeseed was bred to improve yield and protect against pests and more recently has been genetically modified. The term Canola comes from “Canadian Oil” although some people argue it comes from “Canadian Oil Low Acid.” Raw rapeseed oil is toxic because it contains Erucic. Canola oil is highly processed. It is claimed to be healthy because it has less saturated fats and more mono unsaturated fats then many other vegetable oils. It still contains about 30% polyunsaturated fats.

I do have some canola oil in my house. My wife likes it for cooking. Because it is so highly processed it has virtually no flavor. Olive oil has a flavor. Personally, I don’t use it as I try to minimize the amount of poly oil in my diet and I generally consider it a frankenfood because it is so highly processed. While canola does have a high smoke point for high temperature cooking I’ll typically use avocado oil, otherwise it is pretty much olive oil.

ps. And right now Bertolli olive oil is on sale at my grocery for $3.99 and I have a coupon that get’s me another $1.10 of, so that is $2.89 for a pint. I’ll probably stock up this weekend. I also buy large quantities at Costco.

The term “genetically modified” is a complete PC red herring in my personal opinion. Everything we eat has been “genetically modified” for a long time by a process called evolution. And some of those things are very very toxic. Whether the modification was done by man or by nature misses the point, IMHOP. What matters are the specifics—is this good for you, or isn’t it?

That being said, I used to use Canola oil but no longer do. The only things I cook with now are butter or olive oil, depending on how I want things to taste. And olive oil’s flashpoint is plenty high enough for the way I usually cook. If I need something with the greatest possible tolerance of high temperatures, I use grapeseed oil. Living as we do in wine country, it’s readily available and it has one of the very highest flashpoints there is.


@Vancouversailor per calorie, olive oil is about the cheapest food you can get and if you buy by the gallon, it’s even cheaper.
1pt - 4,000 cal

get a lard tin going, like grandmar use to have. That is a very good fat too

poly oil, fructose and refined starch is the devil’s food :slight_smile:

Dr. Gary Fettke - 'A 'Nutritional' model of Inflammation & Modern Disease' - YouTube

As I understand it, refined oils are treated chemically or are pressed in a way that produces high heat in order to extract the maximum amount of oil. The controversy over canola oil arose over the use of hexane in the refining process.

In Europe, “cold-pressed” or expeller-pressed oils do not rise above 90 degrees F during extraction and retain the most nutritional benefits and flavor. In the US, the upper limit is 120 degrees F–by custom, not regulation, I think. So, that’s why extra virgin olive oil is used in salad dressings and as a finishing touch to dishes. Virgin olive oil has a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil but is still inrefined and may be available in bigger cities. “Light” olive oil has been refined (higher extraction rate, neutral flavor) and is marketed for “cooking” though Bertolli’s website says that their light OO is cold-pressed, making it a better choice, IMO, than any refined oil–even if it’s not guaranteed to be a lower temperature pressing.

I like the oils from The California Olive Ranch–very good quality, all cold-pressed. We were visiting wine country and watched the pressing of the harvest and enjoyed a tasting there.

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Any opinions on coconut oil?

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Stay away from the blue ones

Grapeseed oil doesn’t appear to be on the list.

As for the way oils are processed or not processed, I still maintain that it misses the point. What I want to see is reliable data about the effects—not just supposition, but honest empirical data about what it does. That’s what will tell me whether I should be consuming it, or not. And I have to say, given the decades-old smokescreen concerning fats and cholesterol in general, my BS meter is on pretty high alert about what any “expert” opines in this area. Give me data or don’t bother me about it.

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Grape seed is a high poly
Saturated fat 10 g
Polyunsaturated fat 70 g
Monounsaturated fat 16 g

Canola oil contains more omega 3s than most oils, which producers tout as being healthy. But omega 3 oils also go rancid quickly (think elderly fish), so some processors remove them. I use EV olive oil because I like the taste of olive oil. (I also used to love the taste of cod liver oil when I was a kid.) If you don’t, you might prefer something else.

Oh yes. One problem with evaluating the healthiness of oils is that a lot of them are cut with cheaper oils, and that includes olive oil. So you really don’t known what you’re eating.

If you give me your e-mail address I have a pdf ebook I can send you called
The coconut oil cure - 130 recipes for optimal health, weight loss and beauty.

I thought cake was the devil’s food!


It is excellent for massage

Like you say, how/why a thing is genetically modified matters. Changing something, like rapeseed for canola oil, through selective breeding and evolution is one thing. But when people talk about GMOs, that’s not what they’re talking about.

Then you have “BT corn” - supposedly it’s safe for humans because it’s just gene splicing in a naturally occurring soil bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis, that kills off certain bugs but is selective in what it kills - but is FDA approved to be safe for humans. Then again, the FDA has approved HOW many drugs that they then end up going back and black-box warning-labeling 5-10 years later? Other GMOs are “Roundup Ready” crops - meaning they are resistant to the herbicide Roundup so commercial farmers can spray on more Roundup without worrying about killing their crops.

The problem is that just because something doesn’t kill you doesn’t mean it isn’t inflammatory to your gastrointestinal track.

In general, with any food, the less processed you can get it the better. I tend to match my oil to whatever I’m doing with it - high heat cooking I go for something with a higher smoke point. Usually coconut oil. I don’t personally have issues with saturated fats from non-animal sources (and even some animal sources, really, if they aren’t CAFO sourced). If I’m making mayo or salad dressing I use olive oil.

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well the snake did give Eve fructose, so I guess an apple strudel is it?. fructose, refined starch and veg trans fats

I rarely eat canola oil unless I’m eating out because most restaurants use it to lower costs. Some packaged foods have it too. I use olive oil, butter, coconut oil and I recently got some ghee which doesn’t burn when you cook with it. I would not budget on the oil, just get the olive oil and use less of it. I’m hardly using any oils/fats lately-due to my digestive problems I’m using a lot less fat. If you can go to costco or bjs or one of those clubs, they have larger amounts for less, but using less helps too. Coconut oil is great for cooking- you only need a tiny amount- you can get huge tubs of it(an organic brand) for low cost at costco/bj I’m not sure if they have those in Canada.

We do have Costco in Canada. You can buy two big bottles of organic olive oil for something like $10. It lasts me two years or more. I use olive oil and coconut oil for cooking (I like the taste of both).

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Thanks Jen.
I used to have a Costco account but for a while found the $50 a year charge to be a bit over my budget. However, I’ll look into reopening it. Right now I shop at Nofrills where olive oil is about $7 for a 750 ml bottle while Canola oil is $4.88 for a 3 liter jug…

Cake is also the food of angels. Hence, it is everyone’s food as far as I’m concerned. :japanese_ogre: