Can the Canola Oil?

Olive oil comes from olives, peanut oil from peanuts, sunflower oil from sunflowers … but where does canola oil come from?

Canola is an engineered plant developed in Canada, thus the name. It comes from the rapeseed plant, which is part of the mustard family of plants, and was primarily used as an insecticide. Before the rapeseed was genetically engineered, about two-thirds of the monounsaturated fatty acids were erucic acid. Erucic acid was associated with Keshan’s disease, a condition which is characterized by fibrous lesions of the heart. In the late 1970s, Canadian plant breeders were able to create a variety of rapeseed which produced a monounsaturated oil which was much lower in erucic acid.

Canola oil became popular and is marketed as an oil very low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat. In the 1980’s, diets high in saturated fats were blamed for the increase in heart disease. Now, we know that it wasn’t “fat”, it is processed foods, sugar, artificial ingredients.

When you cook with polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as canola, corn, and soy oils), oxidized cholesterol is introduced into your system. As the oil is heated and mixed with oxygen, it goes rancid. Rancid oil is oxidized oil and should NOT be consumed. Besides causing mental fog, low energy, dehydrated skin, it leads to vascular issues and free radical damage.

Foods to be cautious of at the store that may contain Canola oil

  1. Hummus
  2. Salad dressings and sauces (even if it says with olive oil, check for the hidden canola oil)
  3. Frozen foods or packaged meals
  4. Marinated vegetables
  5. Mayonnaise

Please share in the comments below other foods items that you are aware of that contain canola oil or other oils that are less supportive.

Please purchase all of your oils in glass jars, and buy the smaller jars so you have fresh oil more often vs it being in your pantry for a year. Choose these oils that can tolerate a higher heat point to cook with:

  1. Coconut oil (and to use on your skin)
  2. Rice bran oil
  3. Grape seed oil
  4. Ghee (clarified butter)
  5. Red palm oil

Oils we recommend to add to salads:

  1. Olive oil (extra virgin)
  2. Avocado oil
  3. Sesame seed oil
  4. Flax oil

Oil up,
Heather Fleming



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  1. Heather,
    Thanks so much for setting this one straight. It’s damn difficult to avoid this awful ‘vegetable’ oil. But thankfully, it’s quite easy, since there’s really no such thing as ‘vegetable’ oils; I usually just look for that phrase and put it right back on the shelf. And what of all those restraurants that proclaim in their front windows: “No Lard, we use 100% Canola Oil”?
    You mention small bottles. Great idea. Think about the restaurants that never change the fryer oil, but just keep adding more day-to-day to replenish what was used. Ugh!

    1. Thank you Zank!
      Yes, the small bottle idea hit me when I realized this is one thing I want to purchase more frequently and rotate often for quality and variety!
      Thank you & Michelle for this awesome blog idea:) & much more:)

  2. Thanks for the great information Heather! I understand why this oil is harmful when heated…what if the product it’s in is used cold – would that be just as bad? I still haven’t had luck making my own mayonnaise and sadly canola is in every brand I’ve found! Thanks. xo

    1. Hello Kimberly,
      Yes, I would not use it cold either, especially at home and the store when you have more control vs. out to eat! Christina gave us a mayo that looks great! & I will post my mayo recipe on the website soon:)

  3. I, too, have searched for canola free (and soy free) mayonnaise and found one option — Soy-Free Vegenaise. I use it in a chicken salad recipe and was pleasantly surprised by how good it tastes.

    Ingredients: Expeller-Pressed High-Oleic Safflower Oil, Filtered Water, Brown Rice Syrup, Apple Cider Vinegar, Pea Protein, Sea Salt, Mustard Flour, Lemon Juice Concentrate. – See more at:

    1. This is a great conversation. For what it’s worth, I’d avoid all the seed oils, as they’re quite fragile. Here’s an informative post on lots of oils:

      All the seed oils tend to be way out of omega-6 to omega-3 balance. I believe this is largely due to how fragile these oils are. Heather elluded to this in her ‘small bottle’ suggestion.
      Additionally, typical western diets tend to consume a very high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3’s; something in excess of 20:1, when we should aim for a fifth or less of that. Safflower oil contributes to that high ratio (being high in omega-6’s) and should be minimized if heart health is the goal.

      1. Thank you Zank!
        This is such a great conversation, and am so glad to have you all contribute. That is exactly what Conscious Nutrition desires!
        Yes. Keep the purest oils in your home so you have a solid foundation.

  4. I can’t get enough of Avocado Oil! I think it’s my new favorite. I find canola oil in everything in the market. I can’t wait for the day when Whole Food’s Deli removes it from their list of ingredients they cook with completely. Thanks for the awesome blog Heather!

  5. Thanks Heather – Good stuff! What’s your take on peanut oil? That’s what we use in the restaurant

    1. Hi Mike!
      The big bummer with peanut oil is that it is primarily GMO (Genetically modified organism) and peanuts are high in monounsaturated fats, which is ok, except when you cook @ high heat.
      Can you switch to coconut oil:) Price wise?

  6. I wish I had read this sooner. I just bought a large container of canola oil. I have been using the Gabriel Method and so I have been trying to make changes in my diet. I did a lot of research and Canola oil is recommended on most sites. I am very discouraged by the mis-information out there. Thanks for posting this. Should I just throw this away now?

    1. Hello Cecilia,
      So sorry. Will the grocery store let you return it? It is best to have high quality at home, because when we dine out we have less control over the quality of the oils.

    2. Bummer Cecilia! Yeah, toss it. I went through the same thing with my canola oil the moment I learned about how awful the stuff is. Even recently, I bought some coconut (expensive!) oil and it was refined (written in very small print so I didn’t see it before opening the jar), so it had to go as well. 🙂