Well, I think the best way to answer the question, "Is canola oil good for you?" is by talking through some of the reasons it's been touted as healthy.
One of them is that it's "low in saturated fat."
But like I've said many times, saturated fat is not actually bad! But do check that your oil is not a man-made oil, that will raise your LDL!
I wrote in another blog post that the reason that saturated fat gets a bad rap is because of a mistaken study done after World War II, blaming saturated fat for heart disease.
But in reality, back when this study was conducted, the researchers didn't understand total cholesterol (good and bad cholesterol).
Today, we know that the only bad cholesterol that's in saturated fat is the not dangerous type, because it doesn't get stuck in your arteries. There's small LDL, which does get stuck, and then there's large LDL, which is not nearly as dangerous because it won't get stuck and get oxidized.
Plus, if that wasn't enough…Saturated fat raises your good cholesterol, overall reducing your chance of heart disease!
Why do I harp on this? Well, because many times, people will say a food is good just because it's low in saturated fat, but saturated fat isn't even bad!
So, the problem is that canola oil gets a free pass for being so "healthy" and "low in saturated fat," but the issue with this oil is how it's chemically processed.
It's made by crushing seeds in order to extract the oil, but the way this is done is using a chemical called hexane to get the oil. This makes the molecules unstable, gets rid of healthy omega-3 fats, and, worst of all, creates trans fats.
They raise your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol!
So, it's kind of funny, saturated fat has a bad reputation, when it raises good cholesterol, and lowers or does not affect bad cholesterol.
And canola oil is considered healthy even though it has trans fats, which are the true unhealthy type!
So that's why I always recommend, do a little bit of extra digging and research, because most people will hear that canola oil is healthy and not look into this claim any more than that. When in reality, you will want to avoid these high levels of trans fats!
Canola oil and walnut oil has the highest trans fat content, with 2 to 4%. However, keep in mind that partially hydrogenated soybean oil is the worst, with up to HALF the oil being trans fat! Isn't that crazy?
Then, regular soybean oil as well as sunflower oil have about 1% trans fat, and olive oil is the healthiest, with only 0.5% trans fat. Coconut oil or avocado oil are also great heart-healthy oils, due to containing a lot of omega-9 acids.