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.