I heard canola oil is bad for you? Is that true?
— Jack Fitzsimmons, Des Moines, IA
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.