There has been an ongoing debate of whether to use olive oil or canola oil while cooking. Does it really make a difference? The answer is yes. The two products’ lone similarity is that they each are edible… But this wasn’t always the case.
Canola Oil is made from Rapeseed, a yellow flower commonly found in China and Canada. Since rapeseed is known to have high levels of erucic acid, a toxic chemical to humans in large doses, the plant’s oil was mainly used for soap, plastic, and lamps. That is, until recently.
Canola Oil was first formed by Canadian scientists who discovered a way to make the oil edible through processing treatments. The term Canola is a combination of Canadian Oil. Although Canola can trace their history to 1967 when the Rapeseed Association of Canada was established, the Canola Oil consumers are familiar with was introduced in 2004.
In order to make the oil edible, Canadian scientists resort to high heat which can stir rancid chemicals. While some rapeseed plants use low-temperatures in their oil extraction process, most do not because it is considered to be the less efficient way. Hexane is also involved to remove solvent. The oil is then processed through water and organic acids and moved through clay to get rid of an unwanted color. The final step is to deodorize the oil.
With this said, a major benefit to Canola Oil is the effect on one’s cholesterol. According to a study, the oil can lower cholesterol levels by 25%. The research neglected to exceed observations past four months so it is unknown if this effect is long-lasting.
Canola Oil is also high in omega-3 fatty and acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Essentially, the latter nutrient is important because the human body is unable to produce it on its own. Unlike many foods, Canola Oil has Vitamin K, a nutrient that helps healthy blood flow. Canola Oil has a surprisingly low level of saturated fat at 7% and 62% monounsaturated fat.
It has a medium-high smoke point. A smoke point literally means when the oil will start to smoke.
Other purposes for Canola Oil include pesticide, industrial lubricant, and biofuel. While some may be frightened by these uses, Canola Oil is actually considered to be environmentally friendly and helps limit the population’s carbon footprint.
The most notable difference between the two oils is that Canola Oil has been created by manmade processes whereas olive oil comes from a natural resource.
Olive Oil is made through squeezing juices out of an olive and filtering the oil through a natural process. Before anyone can think about producing a bottle of olive oil, they must plant olive trees. A farmer needs to first plan how many trees they need and how many olives they plan to get from one true. It takes about ten pounds to make four cups (one liter) of olive oil. After years of waiting for the trees to grow and mature, the olives can finally be plucked. Once the olives are picked, they are then turned into paste, the oil is separated, and finally filtered. Generally, olive oil is “cold-pressed” which allows the oil to maintain its natural nutrients without fearing it will go rancid.
Olive oil is known to have a medium-low smoke point when used for cooking. The lower the level, the more flavorful the oil will be.
There are various types of Olive Oil depending on the manufacturing as well as how many nutrients are removed from their initial composition. The most natural form of Olive Oil is Extra Virgin Olive Oil which has little processing and contains a considerable amount of nutrients. Most Extra Virgin Olive Oils have a saturated fat level around 14% and a monounsaturated fat level around 78%.
Although not all fats are bad, they all must be monitored. While it is easy to say that Canola Oil clearly has the lower fat content, it must be remembered that this is because is has been tampered with by scientists decades ago.
Who Wins – Olive Oil Vs. Canola Oil?
When it comes to a comparison, it is clear that olive oil is less-processed and has higher nutritional elements than Canola Oil; however, the ultimate decision is in the hands of the consumer.