Canola Oil Vs. Butter

Certain foods -- including canola oil and butter -- can affect your heart. It is important to consider the ingredients and these negative or positive factors when comparing butter and canola oil. If you have concerns about what is the best choice for you, speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian.

A large block of butter on a cutting board. (Image: belchonock/iStock/Getty Images)

What Is Butter?

Butter is a solid food when refrigerated and is considered a fat because it is made from pure animal fat. Butter is high in calories, with around 100 calories per tablespoon. It becomes liquid when it is not kept cold and is often used as a spread or in baking dishes. Because butter comes from animals, it is also high in dietary cholesterol and saturated fats.

Effects of Eating Butter

Dietary cholesterol can affect blood cholesterol levels in individuals. It is recommended that you consume no more than 200 mg of cholesterol each day. Butter poses a heart risk, as it has 33 mg of cholesterol in just 1 tbsp. Butter is also high in saturated fat, with 7 g in 1 tbsp. Saturated fat can increase the low density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol, and should be eaten in moderation.

What Is Canola Oil?

Canola oil is pressed from tiny canola seeds produced by flowering plants of the Brassica family. Because canola is an oil, it is a liquid both when cold and warm. Canola oil is rich in vitamin E and considered a fat. It contains around 100 calories per tablespoon and is commonly used while baking, frying and sauteing.

Effects of Eating Canola Oil

Canola oil is cholesterol-free and contains the lowest level of saturated fatty acids of any vegetable oil. It is also high in monounsaturated fatty acids and has moderate levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Both of these fatty acids are considered healthy and have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. The Mayo Clinic recommends canola oil as one of the top heart-healthy oils to choose from. Canola oil, when used in moderation, can be part of a balanced and heart-healthy diet.

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