Canola Oil: Good or Bad?

Many of my recipes call for canola oil instead of butter to increase the healthy fats and cut out the cholesterol. I often hear “Wait a minute, isn't canola oil bad for you?” We’re setting the record straight. We’re setting the record straight.
IMG_2185.TIF

IMG_2185.TIF

Many of my recipes (and these brownies) call for canola oil instead of butter to increase the healthy fats and cut out the cholesterol. I often hear “Wait a minute, isn't canola oil bad for you?” We’re setting the record straight.

What is Canola?

Today, canola oil is pressed from the seeds of the canola plant. Back in the early 70s, canola was derived from a plant called rapeseed. Rapeseed contains a hefty amount of erucic acid, which can be toxic in large amounts – this is where all those rumors came from! While canola and rapeseed plants are related (botanically speaking), they are very different. Canola oil contains virtually no erucic acid.

The Nutrition Facts

Canola is a good choice for cooking and baking because it’s low in artery-clogging saturated fat (lower than olive oil) and high in heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Like other plant-based oils (like olive, safflower, soybean and flaxseed) it's high in vitamin E, cholesterol-free and has about 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon.

See a comparison chart of the types of fats in plant oils.

When to Use Canola Oil

Canola has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, so it’s handy for stir frying, roasting, grilling and pan-frying. It’s a good substitute for vegetable oil when baking – just swap out equal parts. You can also use it for marinades and salad dressings when you don’t want the flavor of olive oil.

Bottom Line: The rumors that canola oil is toxic are just that – rumors. There’s no reason not to add it to your healthy oil repertoire.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

You Might Also Like:

Keep Reading

Next Up

Coconut Oil: Good Or Bad?

Many praise this high-fat oil as a healthy choice, but is coconut oil really a safe option for cooking?

In The Know: Good Cookin' Good Lookin'

Take a cue from these busy chefs and search your kitchen for makeshift beauty products.

Shellfish: Good or Bad?

Once taken off the menu for being too high in cholesterol, it turns out that shellfish can be a tasty part of a heart healthy diet.

Cookbooks for Good Eggs

Here are four favorite egg cookbooks from past and (recent) present: the best, the most-charming and the most-beautiful egg books from Food Network's shelves.

Good Egg Costume

The wardrobe whiz from Good Eats With Alton Brown dreams up Halloween costumes for little food lovers.

Bagels: Good or Bad?

Who doesn’t love a bagel for breakfast -- but are they a wise choice? People are always surprised (and a little freaked out) to hear how many slices of bread they’d have to eat to match the calories in one bagel. Here’s the good and the bad.

Good Eats, Great Costumes

The wardrobe whiz from Good Eats with Alton Brown dreams up Halloween costumes for little food lovers.

Cream: Good or Bad?

With boatloads of calories and artery clogging saturated fat, can cream be part of a healthy diet?

Milk: Good or Bad?

We're talking about cows' milk, that is. Many folks view milk as wholesome and healthy. Others, meanwhile, warn us away and say it's full of hormones or might make you phlegmy. So what’s the deal with milk: does it do your body good or not?