Canola vs. Vegetable Oil: Which One Will You Choose?

First of all, you need to know which one is healthier, Canola or vegetable oil?

Read on to find out:

  • Brief history of canola and vegetable oil
  • How you should choose your oil?
  • Some facts related to Canola and vegetable oil

What is Canola Oil?

Canola oil is obtained from the rapeseed that have been bred. The seeds are crushed first, and then the oil is extracted from them.

Canola is termed as “the world’s healthiest cooking oil” by some manufacturers while many experts disagree with the definition as such.

The oil can be heated up at different temperatures which make it a favorite to many. Also, the oil is neutral in flavor.

History Of Canola Oil

canola oil and its benefits

Once the oil named rapeseed oil was often used for different purposes, mainly industrial. This oil was inedible for containing Erucic acid and Glucosinolates.

Erucic acid (1) is a fatty acid which causes heart problems and also damages the heart.

Glucosinolates (2) are the components responsible for making the taste of the oil bitter.

Later on, to make this oil edible, some Canadian scientists applied a few techniques to breed canola seeds which can extract oil containing less of those harmful elements.

This is how canola oil was born, and it takes its name after Canadian Oil.

This oil is nothing but an extraction from the rapeseed that are bred in a desirable form.

What is Vegetable Oil?

Vegetable oils can be referred to as oils that are obtained from various seeds and that are liquid while kept at room temperature. (3)

The most common vegetable oils include peanut, sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean.

The vegetable oils that are used these days are mostly combinations of different types of oils.

Many people tend to use vegetable oil every day for cooking as it is an inexpensive choice and is said to be healthy as well.

The oil is neutral in taste.

History Of Vegetable Oil

benefits of vegetable oil

Vegetable oils have been a part of cooking since a very early age. Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, almond nuts, all of these were used to extract oil and used in cooking since the Bronze Age (4).

Later on, to improve the oil’s liquid state in temperature and to refrain it from turning rancid, many recipes were invented.

Soybean oil was prevalent in the 1950s and 1960s. In the mid-1970s the Canadian researchers started researching on the production of canola oil which got the approval in 1985. (5)

Soybean oil was a replacer of cottonseed oil whereas canola oil became the replacer of the soybean oil.

How Should You Choose Your Oil?

There indeed are a lot of confusions about the choosing of oil for eating.

The cooking oils that are used all over the world have their demerits of course. So while choosing an oil for yourself, you need to keep your health demands on your checklist.

When you are to choose oil for yourself, you need to keep few things in mind. Such as:

  • The smoking point of the oil (6)
  • The fat level of the oil (7)
  • The flavor of the oil

Smoking points define the level of heating that your oil can tolerate not breaking down. The temperature at which the oil starts smoking is the smoking point. Oils begin to break down once it reaches its smoking point which is bad for your health. Oils with larger smoking points are suitable for deep frying.

Fat level of the oil refers to the amount of different fats that your oil may contain. A perfect ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids needs to be maintained. Also, the amount of unsaturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are also very important. Your body needs polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, but that too has to be in a balanced amount.

The flavor of the oils determines their use. If the oil has a solid taste and flavor, you might want to use it in recipes which demand stronger flavor. Those with light and subtle flavors are the perfect choices for dressings.

Why You Should Avoid Canola Oil?

Canola oil is not a natural oil. The oil is extracted from the seeds which are technically bred using different breeding methods.

Some of the natural oils may lack in proper fats and nutrients, but the oil which is a product of crossbreeding (8) sounds less healthy to me.

Canola oil very low in unsaturated fats and has very high level of monounsaturated fats and a medium level of polyunsaturated fats.

The point of being low in unsaturated fats is a good one as your body doesn’t need any unsaturated fats.

Also, being rich in monounsaturated fats make it come out as a healthy choice for you.

But, the amount of polyunsaturated fats which is often noted as another beneficial reason for using canola oil can cause problems to your health.

We certainly need polyunsaturated fats, but we don’t need too much of them. And canola oil indeed contains a lot of polyunsaturated fats. Many of these polyunsaturated fats turn into transition fats (9) while they are being produced in the factories.

Canola oil lowers cholesterol, but it’s not that big of a thing to make it a healthier choice for you. Lowering of cholesterol is good for your health, but the level can also be maintained by regulating a proper food habit.

Therefore, the main problem with canola oil is that it is genetically modified. As this term is very new in our food industry, the health problems that it may cause are yet not defined or confirmed which leaves confusions.

What’s Wrong With Vegetable Oil?

As vegetable oil is a blend of many other oils, you will be less likely to have a clear idea of what there is in this oil that you are using.

The ratio of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats will also depend on the oils that are mixed.

So you won’t have much control over the things that you may intake along with your vegetable oil which makes it a wrong choice.

Vegetable oils contain a very high amount of polyunsaturated fats and omega 6 fatty acids. Too much of these two hampers the balance of oils in your body.

Vegetable oils used to be trusted in decreasing the cholesterol level thus taking care of your heart’s health. But many types of research, later on, prove that the link between vegetable oil and heart health is not that strong. Rather, too much consumption of vegetable oils can increase the risk of heart disease. (10)

Though the consumption of vegetable fats may be acclaimed as a good diet due to the absence of unsaturated fats the prodigious polyunsaturated fats are too bad for your health.

Polyunsaturated fats are very unstable as they are prone to oxidize quickly. These oxidized oils can do great harms to your body including internal burning and mutation in cells. All these can lead to cancer, heart disease, and many other serious health problems.

The balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids in your body is critical. Vegetable oils are very high in omega 6 fatty acids. So, too much of this oil creates an imbalance of the ratio of these two fatty acids, resulting in various health problems.

Summary of Canola and Vegetable Oil

canola oi vs vegetable oil

Canola oil too is one type of vegetable oil which is a result of crossbreeding while vegetable oil is a blend of many other oils.

Both of these oils go through processing which involves the usage of pesticides and chemicals.

Again, many of the vegetable oils contain artificial antioxidants to prevent them from getting spoiled quickly. These artificial antioxidants lead to health problems such as behavioral problems, liver and kidney damages and infertility.

Therefore, to sum up, these oils are unhealthy. Their link to cancer and heart disease is a serious issue which can’t be avoided at any cost. Also, the oils are linked to hormonal problems, liver problems, kidney damage, obesity and reproductive problems.

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How To Be Safe With Your Choice

With all the scientific results available out there, it can become very confusing for you to choose the perfect cooking oil that will keep your fat levels in balance and also take care of your health in other ways.

Make sure to check out the ways your oil has been refined or processed before reaching your hands as when it comes to food, these two facts are vital:

  • Where it comes from
  • How it is being stored (11)

All the food items that we purchase from markets go through a process of packaging or storing. So you need to be careful while choosing a product as to how it was collected and packaged.

Next, once you are done purchasing, and you open the packaging, the items are then open to the environment. If they are prone to catch the bacteria or fungus quicker, then you need to take preventive measures to store them perfectly in the right place.

Some Good Fats For Regular Cooking

There are many oils available out there that will be far better choices for you than canola or other vegetable oils.

Such as:

There are also some oils that are better to use in moderations as they are not for cooking with high heats.

Rather you can use these oils for normal dressings, salad dressings or mayo.

They are as follows:

  • Sesame oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Macadamia nut oil
  • Walnut oil (12)

Bottom Line

Give your health the proper kind of fats. Keep yourself healthy and fit. So choose wisely when it comes to the oils for cooking your food.

You can be creative with your choice but it’s better to keep oils that are genetically modified and processed away from your choice list.

Eat healthy, live healthy and choose your cooking oil wisely because your health is precious.

Canola or vegetable oil, which one to choose? We hope there’s no more confusion to the question. In case you have queries and experience to share do write them in the comment section.

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