When faced with a shelf full of cooking oils in the supermarket, the usual debate boils down to canola oil vs. vegetable oil.


This question proceeds from the assumption that vegetable oil is on the same level as canola, when in fact, vegetable oil is the umbrella category of any oil derived from plants, whether such plant produces a fruit or a vegetable. Under this definition, hence, canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and even peanut oil are all types of vegetable oils.

Vegetable oils are healthier than animal fat. Although the latter results in tastier food, the former is low on saturated fat, which is high in animals. The only main difference of canola oil from other kinds of vegetable oils is that the former is genetically engineered and manufactured, while the rest are organic. In fact, the term “canola oil” originally meant “Canada oil, Low Acid”. This resulted from refining and processing the oil extracted from the rapeseed plant. Today, the term “canola” is now used to refer to any cultivar of the rapeseed plant.

Is Canola Oil the same as rapeseed oil?

Many people believe that canola oil is not edible because it is obtained from the rapeseed plant, which is said to be full of Erucic Acid that causes heart damage. The high toxin content of rape seeds is precisely the reason why this cooking oil undergoes an intense manufacturing process. The finished product is, of course, free from toxins and contaminants that pollute the rapeseed oil.

Another Vegetable Oil vs. Canola Oil: Which is better?

One health benefit of canola oil is its low content of saturated fat compared to other oils. These other oils have varying amounts of good and bad fats. This is why it is important to specify which vegetable oil is being compared to canola, and not merely decide between canola oil vs. vegetable oil.
Moreover, canola oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and Omega 3 fatty acid which both reduce the risks of heart diseases. So, while the oil keeps the bad stuff away, it also brings in healthy nutrients to the body.

  1. Olive oil vs. canola oil – Both oils contain a good amount of monounsaturated fat and less saturated fat in contrast to other oils. However, olive oil, apart from being more expensive than the other, may contain more saturated fat than canola when the comparison is only limited to these two oils.
    Although olive oil also has a good taste that makes it a good dressing for salads, it is not the best option for frying since the flavour of the oil will get lost in the cooking. For example, if you use extra virgin olive oil to fry fish or chicken, the oil will cost double that of canola oil but the flavour of the former will only be lost in the simmering pan. This is why using olive oil when frying is a waste of money. 

    Canola oil, on the other hand, has a neutral taste, which makes it a good basic ingredient for salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. For a cheap cost and the same health benefits as olive oil, one can use this oil for frying as well. This oil can even be better than olive oil for frying because it can fry in higher temperatures. More importantly, it contains half of the saturated fat content of olive oil.

  2. Corn oil vs. canola oil – Like canola oil, corn oil is commonly used in frying and baking. Both oils are suited for frying in medium temperature only. Corn oil is also low on saturated fat. However, using canola is a healthier option since corn oil is also low on monounsaturated fat which maintains good heart condition.
  3. Canola Oil vs. peanut oil – Peanut oil is the perfect choice for deep frying, since it is good for frying in high temperatures, gives more flavour to the food, and also contains a high amount of monounsaturated fat like canola oil. The nutty flavour makes it a staple ingredient for roast turkey during Thanksgiving and for cooking Asian dishes and frying chicken.

However, peanut oil is not used as often as canola because the former costs significantly more. Also, peanuts may cause allergic reactions to some people. Hence, this makes canola oil a safer bet. Peanut oil also contains less content of healthy fat.

Choosing the right cooking oil is essential to health. Many people believe that it is the food that people eat that causes diseases, so one should only opt for healthy dishes. However, the oil used for cooking those dishes also plays a big part in making the dishes healthy or not.

Many people claim that olive oil is the healthiest cooking oil, but using canola oil may even be better for one’s health and one’s wallet. Knowing which oil to buy also depends on what kind of dish to cook. Peanut oil provides more flavour than canola, so the latter might not be the best option for food connoisseurs. Just remember, when going to the grocery, not to choose between canola oil vs. vegetable oil, since “vegetable oil” has a category of its own.

Thank you for reading Canola Oil vs. Vegetable Oil – Is there a Difference?.

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