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Is canola oil bad for you?

Just when you thought you knew the good fats from the bad, Internet rumors trashing canola oil's polyunsaturated fat content may have you puzzled. The gossip claims canola's omega-6 fatty acids are too high in proportion to its omega-3 fatty acids. “The optimal balance is between 1:1 and 4:1,” says Steven Pratt, PhD, assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego. “Unfortunately, the typical Western diet contains 14 to 25 times more omega-6s than omega-3s,” a discrepancy linked to increased inflammation and blood-clot risk. He points out, however, that canola oil contains 21 percent omega-6s and 11 percent omega-3s. That works out to a healthy 2:1 ratio.

If you're worried your diet contains too many omega-6s, offset your vegetable oil and canola oil use by substituting with omega-3-rich walnut or flaxseed oil. (Heat destroys omega-3s, though, so don't use these oils for high-heat cooking.) And don't believe the GMO buzz either: Canola oil was not developed using genetic engineering. In fact, Canadians bred canola from the rapeseed plant in the early 1970s — almost a decade before biotechnology company Monsanto genetically modified the first plant cell.


Canola is a play on words: Canada + oil.

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