Could Canola Oil be Dangerous?

Pouring Cooking Oil

Although current research is inconclusive, there are indications that canola oil can have harmful effects.

Although one of the most widely used oils in the food industry, there are still concerns about the safety of canola oil. This fear arises, partly, from the extensive processing that is needed to extract the oil, and partly through the hydrogenation of the oil that increases the amount of trans fat in the final product. So, is canola oil safe?

Scientific Research

Though common along the shopping aisles, there is little work done on the effect of canola oil on humans. The canola oil industry primarily sponsors the research that is available on humans, and so caution is needed when interpreting the results. However, there have been plenty of studies on animals, as well as a handful targeting humans, which may indicate a possible negative impact on health.


There have been many studies that link canola oil to oxidative stress and increased inflammation in animals. In rats fed on a diet including canola oil, levels of antioxidants were found to be lower, while levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol increased. However, as with all animal-based research, caution should be applied in interpreting them too far, as effects on humans can differ.

Cardiovascular Health

Canola oil was once considered a heart-healthy option, but recent studies have started to suggest this may not be the case. Previously, vegetable-based alternatives to saturated fats were assumed healthier. However, saturated fats are no longer considered a problem, with a 2018 research article in the Nutrition Journal suggesting that making the change from animal-based fats to vegetable-based fats has little, if no, effect on heart health.


A human study that compared the effects of a diet containing refined oils, such as canola oil, with extra virgin olive oil, showed significant benefit in brain function for the olive oil group. While this is more of a benefit of olive oil, rather than a disadvantage of canola oil, it shows that healthier alternatives may exist.

The research currently available suggests there may be harmful effects associated with using canola oil, although nowhere is this conclusive. However, it is interesting to note that in a significant proportion of the studies indicating a negative impact, the comparison is against extra virgin olive oil, one of the most widely researched oils available. With this in mind, it seems sensible that extra virgin olive oil should always be the preferred option if possible.

9 Comments on "Could Canola Oil be Dangerous?"

  1. This is an article that aims to create confusion and to negate the benefits of canola oil while ignoring the facts of the world’s vegetable oil industry. It sites no references and touches on possibilities without the necessary discussion of any statement in depth. For example, the processing of canola oil is not any different than the processing of soy, sunflower, safflower or ‘light’ olive oil. And, if cold-press is considered ‘better’ than there are cold-press choices of canola as there are of olive, or other oils. None of that is mentioned!
    Nor is there mention of the health concerns with total saturated fat, as opposed to certain sat fats which may be beneficial to health. Nor concerns about oils which provide the essential Omega-3 (of which olive has little); the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 which is totally disproportionate in most fats; etc. etc. etc.
    The question then remains – who wrote this article? And who will benefit by creating this type of negative perspective for one oil over another, or over the dairy options?

    • I can’t help wondering if you are benefitting financially from the canola oil industry — Since you asked that question yourself of those who criticize the use of this oil.

  2. Back in 1978 my highschool teacher told a class of 30 history students there would be a black president before a woman president. And the Heart and Stroke Foundation should not be endorsing trans fats or hydrogenated fats because they were worse for you than saturated fats. And canola oil was a heavily processed oil originally used for heavy machinery. That said, since I developed trigeminal neuralgia, I’ve avoided all oils except olive oil, butter avacado oil and lard, which seems to put the disease in remission. I believe the neuron sheath is unable to heal with building block oils like Canola and seed oils.

  3. “However, as with all animal-based research, caution should be applied in interpreting them too far, as effects on humans can differ.”

    Well maybe you should state this for 99% of your health news articles, as they are mostly research on mice and you give headlines like the results have meaning to humans.

  4. Thank you Simone.

  5. This is a very sketchy “article” in many ways…

  6. Gautam Mundra | June 10, 2022 at 12:28 pm | Reply

    I don’t know whether this article is right or wrong..but I lead a very healthy lifestyle and don’t eat anything fried or Street cholesterol level since past ten years have remained in the green zone but after starting Canola oil and having it since 4 months.. I was stunned when my blood report showed spike in my LDL level. Did not know how but after reading this article I think I know whom to or what to blame.

  7. I stopped eating canola oil, and most other vegetable oils besides olive and avocado, and I’ve lost a lot of weight. My seasonal allergies seem better too.

  8. Veggie oil french fries bring back my acne that’s been in remission for years.

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