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Vegetable Oil vs. Canola Oil

What do you need to know in order to decide if vegetable oil or canola oil is the healthier oil for you to use in cooking? Which one of these oils contains the kind of fats that are good for you? Are there any fats that are really good for you?


It comes as a surprise to many people that there are actually fats that are good for you. Some fat can actually lower your "bad" cholesterol (otherwise known as LDL), while at the same time raising your "good" cholesterol (more accurately called HDL). Vegetable oil contains high levels of omega-6 acids, which most people need to minimize in their diets. Canola oil has the omega-3 acids that are good for your heart and that most people need to have more of in their diets.

Fat Basics

Some fats, like vegetable oil, are high in omega-6 fatty acids. And since most Americans get too much omega-6 already, they need to use an oil low in omega-6. Also, some fats have chemicals added to them, which some people believe can cause a host of health problems. Canola oil has the healthy omega-3 fatty acids that are good for you.

Fats that have monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids can actually help you lower your bad cholesterol and raise your good cholesterol. Some fats also contain antioxidants that have been shown to promote longer and healthier life spans. Many vegetable oils do not identify the specific oils they contain, so you can't know if you're getting good or bad fats in your oil. Canola oil, however, is one of the top three heart healthy oils.

Most vegetable oils are a combination of various oils (often unspecified) that were extracted by using chemicals. One of the most popular vegetable oils is corn oil. Corn oil is particularly high in omega-6 fatty acids which are one of the leading causes of heart disease and cancer. Canola oil is third in line behind olive and sunflower oil in oils containing monounsaturated fats and omega-3 acids, which are considered good for your heart.

Vegetable or Canola Oil?

Canola oil is a more heart friendly choice than vegetable oil. It also has cross uses ranging from salad dressing to baking and frying. However,  care should be taken when choosing between different brands of canola oil. Canola oil is made from rapeseed, which is often sprayed with pesticides. So try to find a brand that is organic and pesticide free.

Since canola oil can help lower your bad cholesterol while raising your good cholesterol and it can be used for multiple purposes, it is a healthier choice for you than vegetable oil is. By choosing your oil carefully you can help lower your risk for disease, so by all means choose canola.

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