Canola oil is derived from canola seeds, a genetic variation of rapeseed, according to Eating Well. About 93 percent of canola oil in the United States is genetically engineered, and 7 percent is certified organic. Canola oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats and alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, according to the USDA, but it has both pros and cons for your diet.
Pro: Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Canola oil is low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids and free from cholesterol and trans fat. These qualities help lower risk of coronary heart disease. In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration approved a health claim for canola oil stating that eating about 1-1/2 tbsp., or 19 g, of canola oil a day could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Research published in "Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases" in 2005 discovered that canola-oil- enriched cereal, when consumed as part of a fat-lowering diet, reduces total and LDL-cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Pro: Reduces Risk of Cancer
Canola oil may have the best fatty acid ratio compared with other vegetable oils, and has the lowest saturated fat content. In addition, research published in "Lipids" in 2010 discovered that canola oil has suppressive effects on cancer growth, reduces tumor volumes and may have inhibitory effects on the growth of breast cancer cells.
Con: High in Calories
Canola oil is higher in calories than other vegetable oils. According to the USDA, 1 tbsp. of canola oil provides 124 calories, compared with 120 calories for corn, safflower and soybean oils, and 119 calories for olive oil. Many dishes and meals can include more that a tablespoon of oil, increasing your risk for higher consumption of calories and weight gain.
Con: Trans Fats
Some canola oil products are hydrogenated. Hydrogenated oils, or trans fats, are used by the food industry in processed or fast food production. A tablespoon of hydrogenated canola oil has approximately 3.7 g of total trans fat, according to the USDA. A study published in "Lancet" in 2001 discovered that a high intake of trans-fatty acids increases risk of coronary heart disease.
- Eating Well: How Healthy Is Canola Oil Really?
- USDA: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
- CanolaInfo.org: Canola Oil Is Healthy
- FDA: Unsaturated Fatty Acids from Canola Oil and Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
- "Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases"; Cholesterol Lowering Effects of Nuts Compared with a Canola Oil Enriched Cereal of Similar Fat Composition; A. Chisholm; August 2005
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.