Canola Oil

Goals

To support the claim that canola oil is not a good choice for cooking. Include research supporting the belief that canola oil, which is derived from rapeseed, should not be a cook's first choice (i.e. rapeseed is toxic for animals and humans). Focus on both the rapeseed plant and canola oil. Also provide a list of possible substitutions for canola oil in cooking.

Early Findings

We were able to identify information to support the claim that canola oil is not the best choice for cooking during this initial hour of research. We also provided several possible substitutions. For the purposes of this research, we assumed a global scope. If you would like us to focus on a specific region moving forward, please note this when replying to any of the proposals listed below.

Rapeseed and Canola Oil

  • Herbicides metazachlor and clomazone are "widely used in rapeseed protection." Residue from these pesticides can remain on the plant and prove harmful for the surrounding soil, as well as humans and animals.
  • Another commonly used pesticide on rapeseed farms is neonicotinoid, which has recently been banned in regions like the European Union after being "linked to harming bees."
  • Canola oil is typically produced using genetically modified plants (GMOs). An ongoing debate exists as to the health risks of eating foods derived from GMOs with critics claiming they can cause "autoimmune diseases, infertility, gastrointestinal problems, and chronic diseases."
  • According to TIME Magazine, "canola oil tends to be highly processed, which means fewer nutrients overall."

Possible Substitutes

  • The following oils are good substitutes for cooking with canola oil:
    • Sunflower oil
    • Coconut oil
    • Olive oil
    • Soybean oil
    • Cottonseed oil
    • Peanut oil
    • Corn oil
  • Cooks could also use safflower oil in place of canola oil.
  • Grapeseed oil is another potential substitute.
  • Other possible substitutes for canola oil include:
    • Avocado oil
    • Walnut oil
    • Flaxseed oil
    • Sesame oil

Summary of Findings

  • During this hour, we focused on finding credible information to support the claim that canola oil is not the best choice for cooking. Our findings indicate that criticism of cooking with canola oil is less about rapeseed or canola oil itself and more about how rapeseed is grown and processed.
  • In fact, many dietitians consider canola oil a healthy choice for cooking since it is "low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat," which can "improve cholesterol levels and lower [the] risk of heart disease."
  • Since the use of pesticides and GMOs, as well as over-processing, are the most commonly cited reasons that canola is not the healthiest choice for cooking, we recommend continued research to explore why these factors are harmful.
  • It might also be useful to evaluate how the oils mentioned above are used in cooking.

Proprietary Research

In addition to this public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over 1 million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address your goals.

Proposed next steps:

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