Nutrition Information
Nutrition Information




Canola is a "double-low" variety of the rapeseed plant (Brassica napus or Brassica campestris) that was developed by traditional plant breeding methods in the 1970's. Compared to rapeseed, canola seed contains a reduced content of two undesirable constituents, erucic acid and glucosinolates.


Canola oil is extracted from the seed of the canola plant. It is widely used in salad dressings, margarines and shortenings and is also suitable for cooking and baking at temperatures below 360oF. The canola seed meal that remains after oil extraction is used in animal feed, but is not used for human consumption.


Canola oil is very inexpensive compared to most other vegetable oils. As a cooking oil, it is much cheaper than olive oil and peanut oil and similar in price to soybean and corn oil. Canola oil is also much cheaper than other ALA-rich oils like flaxseed and hempseed oil.

Nutritional Information

Monounsaturated Fat

Canola is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, containing almost as much as olive oil. Monounsaturated fat is considered beneficial when consumed in the recommended amounts (10-15 % of total calories).

Essential Fatty Acids

Canola oil is a good source of the polyunsaturated fatty acids linoleic acid (LA, omega-6) and the polyunsaturated fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, omega-3). Polyunsaturated fatty acids are considered beneficial when consumed in the recommended amounts (8-10 % of total calories). Unlike saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids cannot be produced by the body and must therefore be acquired from the diet. For this reason, polyunsaturated fatty acids are also known as essential fatty acids.

Low in Saturated Fat

Canola oil is very low in saturated fat, which is considered harmful. It is recommended that no more than 10 % of total calories be acquired from saturated fat.

Vitamin E

Canola is a good source of vitamin E. One tablespoon of canola oil provides approximately 2.9 mg of vitamin E, which is equivalent to approximately 1/5 of the recommended daily intake.


Canola oil is a good source of phytosterols. Phytosterols are structural analogs of the cholesterol found in animals and humans. They are considered beneficial as they interfere with cholesterol metabolism.

Fatty Acid Content of Canola Oil

Fatty Acid

% of Total Fatty Acids

Amount (g) / Tablespoon*







Erucic Acid









Linoleic Acid






Alpha-Linolenic Acid



* 1 tablespoon = 14 g

Health Benefits


Canola oil has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and inhibit platelet aggregation and may therefore help prevent cardiovascular disease. Canola oil has also been shown to protect against cardiac arrhythmias in animal studies. Cardiac arrhythmia refers to a loss of heartbeat rhythm, which may result in sudden death.

Other Areas of Research

Preliminary studies have demonstrated that animals fed canola oil gained less weight than animals fed beef fat, suggesting that canola oil may be a good source of fat for weight-reducing diets. Further research is necessary to investigate whether canola oil may promote weight loss in humans.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to provide benefits in a number of cardiovascular, immune/inflammatory and neurological disorders and have also been investigated as potential anti-cancer agents. Some of the ALA that is consumed in the diet is converted in the body to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the two long chain omega-3 fatty acids that are abundant in fish oil. Although fish oils have been shown be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of several diseases, it is still unclear whether or not ALA-containing foods provide equal benefits.

High monounsaturated fat diets may be beneficial for controlling glucose levels in people with diabetes.

Safety and Side Effects


Traditional rapeseed is believed to be unsuitable for human consumption due to its high content of erucic acid. Erucic acid is a long chain monounsaturated fatty acid that has been shown to cause heart damage in experimental animals. Whereas traditional rapeseed oil contains 20-55 % erucic acid, canola oil contains less than 2 % erucic acid and is therefore considered safe.

Side Effects

When consumed in normal amount with food, canola oil does not cause any side effects. If large amounts are consumed without food however, upset stomach and diarrhoea may occur.

Canola and Genetic Modification

Genetically Modified Canola

Canola was developed from the rapeseed plant through traditional plant breeding methods, not by genetic modification. In recent years however, several genetically modified canola varieties have been developed and approved for sale in Canada and the United States. These canola varieties include herbicide resistant lines, lines displaying pollination control systems (male sterility and fertility restoration) and a phytase-expressing line.


Genetically modified canola oil is considered to be as safe as unmodified canola oil. Before a genetically modified food can be produced and sold in Canada or the United States, it must undergo a thorough environmental, livestock feed and food safety assessment.


It is mandatory that genetically modified foods be labelled when the composition of the food is modified (eg. high oleic/low linolenic acid canola oil) or when there are potential safety concerns associated with its consumption (eg. allergenicity). It is not required however, that foods derived from plants that were genetically modified to improve agronomic characteristics, without affecting food composition (eg: herbicide resistant plants) be labelled as genetically modified.


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