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Canola Oil Vs. Vegetable Oil

Canola Oil Vs. Vegetable Oil: A Definitive Comparison

Canola oil or other vegetable oils, which one should you opt for? This question is a confusing one as both have unique characteristics and uses. This NutriNeat article will help you get a better grip on the benefits of the two categories.
Anannya Saikia
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2018
When you decide to purchase a particular type of cooking oil, the main concern is usually regarding its taste, but issues such as fat and cholesterol content also invariably crop up. Thus, the chemical composition of an oil plays a very important role. Oils contain fats which can be divided into three broad categories, viz. saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Saturated fats are not counted among the healthy fats, so it's better to consume these in limited quantities. Unsaturated fats are actually considered to be healthy fats, as these help in strengthening the immune system. Using unsaturated fats in our diet would also help in controlling the cholesterol levels. Unsaturated fats are found mostly in fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
Canola oil and other vegetable oils contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, hence these are considered to be healthy cooking oils.
Canola Oil
Canola is actually an acronym for Canadian oil, low acid. Canadian plant breeders developed canola in the early 1970s, by using conventional plant breeding methods on rapeseed, which is a plant that belongs to the family of mustard, turnips, radish, and other similar plants. Canola oil is derived from the crushed seeds of this plant. Over the years, this oil has become popular for its many health benefits, as claimed by the company that produced and marketed it. Nowadays, canola is said to be one of America's major cash crops. Besides being a healthy cooking oil, canola has more to offer. Initially, it was used as a fuel for lamps. Later, it was used as a lubricant for steam engines during the world wars. It can be used as a biofuel too.
Canola oil contains monounsaturated fats, which are considered to be healthy. It contains as much as seven percent of the total saturated fats (which is the ideal requirement). It is also an excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic acid, and has a higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acid - alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Since these fats are not synthesized by the body, using a cooking oil that contains these nutrients will certainly prove beneficial. Canola oil contains seven percent saturated fat, thirty-two percent polyunsaturated fat, and sixty-one percent monounsaturated fat, which makes it a healthy edible oil. This oil is a rich source of Vitamin E antioxidants. It also has a high burning point, allowing it to withstand high temperatures. It also does not get chemically altered when used for frying at these high temperatures.
The Canola Council of Canada has declared this oil to be safe. In fact, it is referred to as the healthiest of all cooking oils. Other medical councils and the FDA in the United States also say that it has the ability to reduce the risk of heart diseases. A study done on rats, however, found that canola oil can cause a hyperlipidemic condition, i.e., increase in the levels of lipids in the blood. It is also said to trigger high blood pressure, which means that it can promote hypertension. However, other studies have found this oil fit for human consumption with no reported side effects. Studies confirm that it has the lowest content of saturated fats among all cooking oils. Genetic engineering has made this oil free from erucic, a toxin which is considered to be a health hazard.
Is It Banned in European Countries?
Most people believe that this oil is banned in Europe. This is nothing but a myth. In fact, according to the Canola Council of Canada, "The European Union (EU) countries together produce more canola than Canada. Europeans call their canola 'oilseed rape' - and call the oil 'rape oil' or 'rapeseed oil' - but it is canola."
European laws prevents their natives to grow genetically modified canola, so they consume the oil that is made from plants that are grown conventionally. The Canola Council of Canada also states, "Most of the canola oil from Canada can be exported to the EU and the EU has also approved some of the GM canola seed for processing. Canola oil produced from GM plants is safe and healthy."
Vegetable Oil
Oil can be extracted from most parts of a plant, but is usually derived from the seeds. The main constituent of vegetable oils is triglyceride. These oils are not just used for cooking but serve a majority of other purposes too. They are used in the paint industry, for making soaps, biodiesel, etc. There are a large variety of oils that can be found in the market today. Vegetable oils can be classified as edible and non-edible oils. Non-edible ones include jatropha oil, tung oil, castor oil, etc. They are mainly used for industrial purposes. Here are some of the edible oils, along with their comparison with canola oil.
* Please Note: While technically, olive oil, sunflower seeds, and coconut oil are all fruit oils, based on their usage and taste, these are classified under vegetable oil from culinary point of view. According to botanists, a fruit is a part of a plant that contains seeds, or emerges from a flower. The rest of the parts come under the category of vegetables. However, in reference to cooking, vegetables are more savory and not so sweet in taste. Whereas fruits are sweet and tangy. Also, mostly vegetables are those that are used for main dishes, while fruits are utilized for desserts.
Olive Oil
One of the best cooking oils around is olive oil. It contains a high amount of monounsaturated fats, and helps in reducing blood pressure, protects against cancer, helps to keep down blood sugar levels, helps maintain a lower body weight, etc. Often called liquid gold, olive oil is considered to be a very versatile product. It can be used as a part of various home remedies and treatments, beauty aids, and also acts as a cleansing agent.
Comparing Factor Canola Oil Olive Oil
Saturated Fats 6% 14%
Polyunsaturated Fats 32% 11%
Monounsaturated Fats 62% 73%

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been known to humans since ancient times. It is widely used in cooking, medicines, and also as a biofuel. It is heat-stable, which makes it suitable for cooking at high temperatures. This oil also acts as a skin moisturizer, and for making soaps. It is also a good source of protein for the hair. Coconut oil has high saturated fats, as well.
Comparing Factor Canola Oil Coconut Oil
Saturated Fats 6% 92%
Polyunsaturated Fats 32% 2%
Monounsaturated Fats 62% 6%

Soybean Oil
Soybean oil is one of the most used oils for cooking. It has a high amount of polyunsaturated fats, which makes it a healthy cooking oil. It is also used in inks and paints due to its ability to harden when exposed to air. Soybean oil is chiefly used for baking and frying.
Comparing Factor Canola Oil Soybean Oil
Saturated Fats 6% 15%
Polyunsaturated Fats 32% 61%
Monounsaturated Fats 62% 24%

Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the sunflower. It contains a high composition of polyunsaturated fats, that make it fit for cooking purposes. The oil is considered quite healthy for humans, as it has low trans fats and also high amounts of vitamin E. This oil also acts as a skin moisturizer.
Comparing Factor Canola Oil Sunflower Oil
Saturated Fats 6% 11%
Polyunsaturated Fats 32% 69%
Monounsaturated Fats 62% 20%

Peanut Oil Peanut oil is used in some countries for cooking. It contains a good amount of monounsaturated fats. This oil is also used as a biofuel. It is also safe for massage therapies and for making soaps.
Comparing Factor Canola Oil Peanut Oil
Saturated Fats 6% 18%
Polyunsaturated Fats 32% 33%
Monounsaturated Fats 62% 49%

Sometimes, you will come across vegetable oils that are hydrogenated. The process of hydrogenation changes the natural fats that are beneficial for health, into trans fats that have been linked to a number of serious diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure. Hence, these oils must be avoided.
Young housewife cook with oil
Oil of rapeseed
Olive Oil
Canola blossoms