I heard canola oil is bad for you? Is that true?

— Jack Fitzsim­mons, Des Moines, IA

Vegetarian Today - - Just Ask -

There’s a lot of mis­in­for­ma­tion out there about con­sum­ing canola oil, lead­ing some peo­ple to be­lieve it’s a health con­cern. Canola oil orig­i­nated as a Cana­dian prod­uct ex­pressed from rape seeds. While rape seeds orig­i­nally con­tained high lev­els of a harm­ful com­pound called eru­cic acid, a va­ri­ety was bred to be en­tirely safe for hu­man con­sump­tion. That’s the va­ri­ety used to pro­duce all canola oil now.

That said, most rape seeds used to pro­duce canola oil in the U.S. have been ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied to be re­sis­tant to cer­tain pes­ti­cides. If you can, get your hands on or­ganic, cold-pressed canola oil. Lower in sat­u­rated fat than any other oil and high in mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat — which helps lower “bad” LDL choles­terol — it re­mains one of the health­i­est cook­ing oils.

With its neu­tral taste, light tex­ture, and medium-high smoke point, canola oil is very ver­sa­tile. It works well for bak­ing and sautéing, as well as in vinai­grettes.

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