Canola Oil Vs. Olive Oil

NutriNeat Staff Jan 1, 2019
This information elaborates on canola oil vs. olive oil. Canola oil and olive oil have been referred to as twins by several food oil companies. However, what is the truth? Is canola oil as good as olive oil?
There is a lot of murmur about canola oil being superior to olive oil. Some food oil companies are even calling canola oil to be olive oil's twin! However, what is this canola oil and is it really as good as olive oil? There are several debates on canola oil vs. olive oil and which is better. Let's first read a little about both these oils.

Olive oil

Olive oil is the oil extracted from the olive fruits of the olive trees and is the only oil that can be consumed as it is, because it has been freshly pressed from the fruit.
Used mostly in the Mediterranean, this oil is popular for its innumerable health benefits since time immemorial. We are all familiar with how wonderful the golden-colored oil is, however, since we are less familiar with canola oil, let's have a detailed look at what the latter is all about.

Canola Oil

We often hear disputes about canola oil being safe or not fit for human consumption. What is the truth? Before the 1970s, canola oil was derived from a member of the mustard family called rapeseed plant.
The rapeseed oil extracted from this plant contained high levels of erucic acid, which is a compound toxic in high levels to humans. Erucic acid was associated with Keshan's disease, which was characterized by fibrous lesions of the heart.
However, after the 1970s, a natural cross breeding from rapeseed plant was developed to form the canola plant in Canada. The name canola was not a botanically derived name, but was derived from two words: Canada and oil. Today the canola oil we have is extracted from canola seeds (seeds from the new plant) and not from the rapeseed plant.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the canola oil available today contains low levels of erucic acid (0.3 % to 1.2 %) and is safe for human consumption.
Thus, if you were afraid to use canola oil for cooking due to stories about erucic acid, then you will be relieved to know that canola oil is not dangerous and does not contain toxins. The confusion arises when you confuse the term 'rapeseed oil' with canola oil. Rapeseed oil is detrimental for health, however, canola oil is safe.
Canola seeds from the lovely yellow canola flowers are harvested and pressed, to obtain canola oil. This oil is low in saturated fat and is high in monounsaturated fat. In fact, canola oil has the lowest level of saturated fatty acids, as compared to any vegetable oil.
Moreover, since it is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, it can reduce blood cholesterol levels. Canola oil also contains moderate levels of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. It also contains adequate amounts of vitamin E.

Olive Oil Vs. Canola Oil

Olive oil has a low smoking point, which means it smokes at a lower temperature, thus, cannot be used for deep frying, etc.
Canola oil on the other hand, has a higher smoking point and can be used for deep frying and high heat stir frying.

Superiority

We come across a lot of promotional measures being carried out to promote canola oil. The promotional slogans say that canola oil is superior to olive oil due to its high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids.
However, how much of this is true? Is canola oil really better than olive oil? The answer is No! Olive oil has been around for myriads of years and has been tested and tried. It has proven its superiority.
Indepth research about canola oil and its health benefits have yet to be proven scientifically. So, even though the food oil industry keeps promoting canola oil as olive oil's twin, olive oil is the big brother for now!

Fat Content

We also hear that both canola oil and olive oil contain 'good fats', however, which one has higher content of 'good fats'. Olive oil has a higher proportion of good fats or monounsaturated fatty acids, as compared to canola oil.
In fact, the good fats present in olive oil are thrice higher than that in same amount of canola oil. Moreover, olive oil also has higher levels of polyunsaturated fats than canola oil.
Though both canola and olive oil have low levels of saturated fats (bad fat), as compared to other cooking oils, the amount of saturated fats are higher in olive oil than in canola oil. Thus, with two plus points and one minus point, olive oil still contains higher levels of good fats than canola oil.

Health Benefits

Canola oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6-fatty acids, which help reduce the risk of heart diseases, arthritis and cancers. Moreover, since these essential fatty acids are not manufactured in the body, canola oil becomes an important source. Although olive oil contains omega-3-fatty acids, the amount is lower as compared to canola oil.

Cost

One major difference between canola and olive oil is the cost. Canola plants are relatively cheaper to cultivate and maintain, as compared to olive trees. This reflects in the overall price of the oil as well.
Olive oil has been known for its health benefits since time immemorial. However, the problem is that there is not enough olive oil produced for everybody. Moreover, since olive oil is expensive, the affordability of canola oil is better than olive oil.

Taste

Though lots of people love olive oil, there are also those who find its flavor too strong to add it into food. Canola oil is relatively insipid, thereby proving to be suitable oil for baking food items.
Moreover, its versatile and smooth texture makes it a great cooking oil, especially for stir frying, sautéing and grilling. Canola oil can also be used in marinades, sauces and salad dressings.

Culinary Uses

Olive oil has a lower smoking point, which means it smokes at a lower temperature when heated. This is why olive oil cannot be used for deep frying and high heat stir fries. However, Canola oil with its high smoking point can be used for frying, provided the temperatures are less than 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
In terms of health benefits, as of today, olive oil is still superior! Nevertheless, canola oil is not far behind. For people who cannot afford consuming olive oil on a day-to-day basis, canola oil is a good option.
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