Canola oil remains one the most popular fats today both at the healthfood store and the supermarket. It is also hands down the preferred cooking oil in the restaurant industry. It has maintained this popularity for nearly two decades.
High in beneficial omega-3 and “Mediterranean” monounsaturated fats, it appeals to those who have superficial knowledge of the importance of healthy fats in the diet. Low in saturated fats, canola oil also appeals to consumers (still?) following the fatally flawed Food Pyramid which inexplicably continues to recommend vegetable oils as heart healthy.
On top of the wide range of consumers who believe canola oil to be healthy, it is ultra cheap to produce, ship and store. Not surprisingly, this is a home run with food manufacturers. Finally, the mild taste of canola oil makes it a perfect choice to blend with more expensive olive oil. This characteristic is why most restaurants use cheap canola oil/olive oil blends instead of 100% olive oil. Cooking oil in professional kitchens is usually a mix of 25% olive oil to 75% canola oil (1). Interestingly, if you ask what cooking oil is used in the kitchen, the answer is usually “olive oil” even when this is not completely true.
The result of canola’s appeal to a large segment of consumers and industry is that many processed foods at both the supermarket and healthfood store contain canola. Prepared foods. Baked goods. Crackers and chips. Cereals and cookies. Even Whole Foods defends its use of canola oil in its stores and brands (1).
Healthy for your heart.
Good for your waistline.
Green for the planet.
Source: The Healthy Home Economist
Image Credits: Flickr