Q. Where is Canola Grown?
Canola is grown primarily in regions of Western Canada, with some acreage being planted in Ontario and the Pacific Northwest and north central United States. Canola is also grown in other countries including Europe and Australia. Canola acreage has increased rapidly in the United States in the last five years to over 1 million acres in 1999.
Q. Are canola and rapeseed the same thing?
No. Rapeseed is not a word that can be used in the place of canola. There are strict quality standards governing canola and products which do not meet government standards cannot use this trademarked term.
Q. Is there a difference between canola oil and vegetable oil?
Some food products labeled “vegetable oil” may contain canola oil. “Vegetable oil” on a label allows a food manufacturer to substitute or combine oils without having to change the product label. Always read the label to insure you are purchasing canola oil.
Q. All vegetable oils contain fat, why do I want to include fat in my diet?
Moderation is a key word when talking about fats in the diet. Fat is an important part of the diet, providing the greatest output of energy per gram of any food as well as improving flavor. When stored in the body, fat helps maintain body temperature by acting as an insulator.
Q. How much fat is too much fat?
Federal health agencies advise that diets derive no more than 30 per cent of total calories from fat, with saturated fat comprising no more than 10 per cent of recommended fat intake.
Q. With so many vegetable oils to choose from, how do I know which one is the healthiest?
Nutrition experts recognize canola oil as having the best fatty acid ratio. Research indicates the fatty acid composition of canola oil is most favorable in terms of health benefits and as a part of a nutritionally balanced diet.
When canola oil is compared to other oils in today’s market, canola oil has the lowest level of saturated fat (7 per cent), it is relatively high in monounsaturated fat (61 per cent), and it has a moderate level of polyunsaturated fat (22 per cent).
Health practitioners and dietitians have praised the fatty acid profile of canola, labeling it the oil with the best fatty acid ratio. Research indicates the fatty acid composition of canola oil is most favorable in terms of health benefits and as a part of a nutritionally balanced diet.
Q. What do all of those different types of fat mean?
Today’s dietary guidelines require a reduction of saturated fat. Research studies have shown a link between saturated fat and increased serum cholesterol, which, in turn, is associated with increased coronary heart disease risk. Canola oil has the lowest level of saturated fat (7%) compared to all other oils on the market today.
Canola oil is high (61%) in the monounsaturated fatty acid oleic acid. Oleic acid has been shown to reduce serum cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol levels. Oleic acid does not affect levels of HDL cholesterol.
Two classes of polyunsaturated fatty acids (n:3, n:6) are essential for humans, as they cannot be synthesized in the body and must be supplied through the diet. Canola oil contains a moderate level (22%) of the polyunsaturated fatty acid linoleic acid and an appreciable amount (11%) of alpha-linolenic acid. Alpha-linolenic acid has been shown to be effective in lowering serum triglyceride levels as well as in reducing platelet aggregation and increasing blood clotting time. These anti-blood clotting effects play an important role in the reduction of coronary heart disease.
Q. Is canola oil accepted by American Nutritionists?
Canola oil has received the “Product Acceptance Award” from the American College of Nutrition and the “Health Product of the Year Award” from the American Health Foundation.
US canola oil must meet strict quality standards determined by the government health agencies before being used as or in a food product. Consumers can, therefore, associate quality with canola and rely on continued excellence in their canola oil.
Where can I find more information on cooking with canola oil?
If you want more information on using canola, tips on cooking with canola, and some tasty recipes, click here to visit our on-line cookbook.