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Does Canola Oil Have Omega-6 Fatty Acids?

author image Seana Rossi
Seana Rossi is a research associate from Toronto who has been publishing and editing scientific abstracts and manuscripts since 2003. Her work has appeared in publications such as "The Society for Neuroscience," "The Canadian Psychological Association" and "The Journal of Surgical Oncology." Rossi obtained a Master of Science in neuroscience from York University.
Does Canola Oil Have Omega-6 Fatty Acids?
A bottle of canola oil. Photo Credit: SasaJo/iStock/Getty Images

Canola oil is arguably the healthiest of all the cooking oils commonly used today. Canola oil was designed and engineered in Canada. Compared to other cooking oils it is low in saturated fat and relatively high in mono-unsaturated fat, which helps lower cholesterol. Canola oil contains not only omega-6 fatty acids but omega-3 fatty acids as well, both of which are essential nutrients because your body cannot make them.

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A Brief History of Canola Oil

Studies conducted on rats revealed that if a rat ate a diet rich in erucic acid it resulted in fatty degeneration of the heart, kidney, adrenals and thyroid, reports Udo Erasmus, Ph.D., in his bestselling book “Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill.” Oils made from rape seed, containing up to 40 percent erucic acid were made in Canada from 1956 to 1974, but in response to the studies, geneticists bred new low erucic acid rapeseed, or LEAR, which contained less than 5 percent erucic acid. This new oil was coined canola, for Canadian oil.

A New Oil

It turns out that rats do not metabolize any fat well, because the study was repeated with safflower oil, which contains no erucic acid, and the rats still ended up with the same problems, reports Erasmus. This might be due to the fact that their natural diet consists of low fat vegetables and grains. While erucic oil has been somewhat vindicated for its help in the treatment of a rare genetic disorder known as adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD, this new oil, based on misinterpreted research, was already created and it is still popular today, notes Erasmus.

Canola Oil Compared to the Rest

It is well documented that to avoid cardiovascular disease, you should limit dietary saturated fat. Canola oil contains just 7 percent saturated fat. Other popular cooking oils contain more saturated fat. For example, olive oil contains 15 percent, peanut oil contains 19 percent and sunflower oil contains 12 percent, reports the Canola Council of Canada. The shelf life for canola oil stored at room temperature is approximately a year, which is similar to other vegetable oils.

Omega-Fatty Acids

The Canola Council of Canada reports that the fatty acid profile of canola oil is over 90 percent unsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids include oleic acid, linoleic acid and linolenic acid. Oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid, comprises the majority of the fatty acids in canola oil, making up about 60 percent of the total. Linoleic acid, an omega-6, makes up about 20 percent of the unsaturated fatty acids. Linoleic acid, an omega-3, makes up about 10 percent.

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