In recent years, research has pointed to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats as having health benefits and potentially helpful in weight loss. In recent years, consumption of canola oil has increased due both to the lower cost compared with olive oil and the perception that it may share health benefits with olive oil. Canola oil is a type of vegetable oil that comes from rapeseed which is a yellow flowering plant that is in the cabbage family. The health benefits of canola oil have been documented in prior research, and this belief makes sense since canola, like olive oil, is also low in saturated fats and high in polyunsaturated fats. I have written on the benefits of both in prior articles on fish, fish oil, and nuts. Both may provide ammunition and motivation to encourage you to increase your consumption of these types of fats.
Canola oil is regularly promoted as a healthful cooking fat, but a new study, suggests that it could be more harmful than helpful. The new article, published on 7 December 2017, may provide further motivation to switch to olive oil over canola. The researchers came to this conclusion while studying mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers found that a diet rich in canola oil exacerbated memory problems over the six months of the study and led to weight gain. The research was done on mouse models so it might not translate well to humans.
The bottom line: Canola may worsen memory and increase weight when compared to olive oil. More research is needed, but I recommend olive oil over canola. More studies are clearly needed.
Lauretti, Elisabetta, and Domenico Praticò. “Effect of Canola Oil Consumption on Memory, Synapse and Neuropathology in the Triple Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Scientific Reports 7, no. 1 (December 2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-17373-3.
Lin, Lin, Hanja Allemekinders, Angela Dansby, Lisa Campbell, Shaunda Durance-Tod, Alvin Berger, and Peter JH Jones. “Evidence of Health Benefits of Canola Oil.” Nutrition Reviews 71, no. 6 (May 2, 2013): 370–85. https://doi.org/10.1111/nure.12033.