Is Vegetable Oil Healthier Than Canola Oil?


Cooking typically requires fat to conduct heat and cook the food evenly. Cooking fats (oil and butter, for example) can also provide a nice taste and texture and prevent the food from sticking to our cookware.

Due to the types of fatty acids in different sources and their effects on our hearts, it is generally recommended that plant-based oils are used in preference to saturated animal fats.

Canola oil and vegetable oil are two common choices because they are relatively cheap, have neutral tastes, and can be cooked at high temperatures. Is one better than the other?

Canola Oil – Pros and Cons

Canola oil comes from a variation of the rapeseed plant. Until fairly recently, rapeseed oil was only used for industrial, non-food purposes because it has a high erucic acid content.

In 1976, Canadian scientists successfully improved the quality of rapeseed cultivars by carefully breeding them to reduce their erucic acid levels. They then registered this new variety as “Canola” for “Canadian” and “OLA” (Oil, Low Acid). 

Like other plant-based oils, canola oil has been demonstrated to benefit cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health.

But when compared to other cooking oils like olive oil or sunflower oil, there doesn’t seem to be a significant difference in health outcomes. A firm conclusion cannot be drawn to say that canola oil is necessarily better or worse than other types of plant-derived oils.

Some people stay away from canola oil because it is a GMO (genetically modified organism). While the safety of GMOs is inconclusive and debatable, some people don’t want to consume anything that has been genetically modified.

A commonly cited risk of GMOs is that they may contain higher amounts of dangerous pesticides. Some farmers will use insecticides and fungicides to control pests, but these can damage their crops – unless the plants are genetically modified to resist the pesticides. This modification makes it easier to grow, but increased pesticide use may adversely affect our health.

Vegetable Oil – Pros and Cons

Vegetable oil is made from a blend of different oils, usually soybean, sunflower, and canola oil.

It is a generic and inexpensive cooking oil suitable for all types of cooking.

Because it is a mixture, you are less likely to know what it is made with, how those plants were treated and processed, and what ratios of fatty acids are in it.

This might be a problem for people who want to have more precise control over what they eat, but vegetable oils are generally safe and can be more healthful than animal-derived cooking fats like butter or lard.

Since both canola and vegetable oil have good and bad characteristics, it is challenging to determine which is better.

Your best choice might be to have a variety of oils on hand and switch up your routine occasionally. Different oils like peanut oil, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil can provide unique flavors and are best at different temperatures. Adding variety can help you get a broader range of nutrients and keep your meals exciting.