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Canola vs Palm oil - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian by Christelle Tchakerian | Last updated on November 01, 2021
Education: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Canola
vs
Palm oil

Summary

Canola oil is somewhat healthier than palm oil. Canola oil is higher in vitamin K, vitamin E, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Palm oil may be considered less healthy as it has a much higher saturated fats content.

Canola and palm oil may be beneficial for people with diabetes but can also cause cardiovascular issues. Nevertheless, you can definitely find much healthier oils to consume.

Introduction

Canola oil and palm oil are considered vegetable oils as they come from vegetable sources. Vegetable oils are highly processed. They are specially designed to tolerate high heat and resist going rancid.
Canola oil is extracted from the rapeseed plant. On the other hand, palm oil is extracted from palm fruits.

In terms of health benefits, canola oil is healthier than palm oil as it is higher in vitamin K, vitamin E, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Moreover, canola oil is lower in saturated fats (considered unhealthy fats).

In this article, we will examine the nutritional benefits and the downsides of these oils.

Uses in Cooking

Aside from the health benefits of an oil, the smoke point of an oil is also assessed. The smoke point is the point at which the oil becomes harmful, produces free radicals, and loses its nutritional value.

The smoke point of the canola is between 220 and 230°C (428 to 446°F) (1). Meanwhile, the smoke point of palm oil is around 232°C (450°F) (2). So, if you are looking for a better option for high heat cooking, you can go with canola oil.

Price

Palm oil is the most extracted and popular oil as its yield is very high. Canola oil is lower in price.

Nutrition

You can refer to the infographics below to understand the nutrition differences between these oils.

Canola oil and palm oil are void of minerals.

As for vitamins, canola oil is 179% richer in vitamin K and 350% richer in vitamin E. Both oils do not have any other vitamins, so we can say that canola oil ranks much higher in terms of vitamins.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Canola
3
:
Contains more Vitamin K +791.3%
Equal in Vitamin E - 15.94
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 350% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 179%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 319% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 20%
Contains more Vitamin K +791.3%
Equal in Vitamin E - 15.94

Calories

The oils are equal in caloric value which comes from the fat component.

A 100g of each of these oils provides 884 calories.

Carbohydrates

Both oils are void of any carbohydrates.

Glycemic Index

Both oils have a glycemic index of 0 as they are composed entirely of fat.

Proteins

Both oils do not contain any proteins.

Fats

The oils are equal in the number of fats. They differ in the proportion of the different fats they contain.

Canola oil is lower in saturated fats, the difference being 41.935 grams for 100 grams of the oil. In addition, canola oil has almost double the amount of monounsaturated fat and more than double, almost triple, the amount of polyunsaturated fat compared to their corresponding amounts in palm oil.

Weight Loss and Diets

A meta-analysis has shown that the consumption of canola oil causes a moderate decrease in body weight (3).

However, a study conducted on mice models revealed that a diet supplemented with canola oil caused the studied mice to weigh more than mice who did not receive the canola oil in their diet (4).

On the other hand, a systematic review showed that there is not enough evidence to conclude that palm oil causes any changes in weight (5).

Health Impact

Cardiovascular Health

Some studies deny that palm oil and canola oil have any cardiovascular benefits or claim that they are harmful. Meanwhile, other studies claim that canola oil has positive cardiovascular benefits.

A study revealed that the consumption of canola oil compared to the consumption of other oils rich in saturated fats led to a decrease in total cholesterol and a reduction in the level of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) (6). In addition, according to a research study, palm oil consumption is not related to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (7).

Diabetes

A study has shown that consuming a low glycemic index diet and canola oil leads to control of glycemic load (8). Another study has shown that palm oil has antioxidant potential that can benefit individuals with diabetes mellitus (9).

Cancer

A study has shown that carotene found in palm oil has immunomodulatory effects and may suppress the growth of human breast cancer cells (10).

Another study showed that canola oil has chemoprotective effects in rats (11). This study compared rats that consumed corn oil vs. rats that consumed canola oil. The canola oil group showed a reduction in colon tumor incidence and tumor multiplicity (11). This is due to the fact that canola oil is much richer in omega-3 fatty acids while corn oil is much richer in omega-6 fatty acids.

Vitamin A Deficiency Prevention

A meta-analysis demonstrated that palm oil might play a role in alleviating vitamin A deficiency (12). This is because palm oil contains provitamin A, a precursor to vitamin A synthesis.

Neuroprotection

Palm oil contains a form of vitamin E that is not well known, α-tocotrienol. This compound is known to have neuroprotective functions (13). This study also mentions that supplementation with this compound derived from palm oil can protect the brain from stroke-mediated nerve dysfunction (13).

On the other hand, some studies show that canola oil worsens memory (14). There are very few, if any, studies claiming that canola oil has any neuroprotective function.

Downsides and Risks

Cardiovascular Health

Canola oil has also been shown to reduce the lifespan of hypertensive stroke-prone rats (15). Moreover, canola oil is a highly processed oil that may contain trans fats. Trans fats cause arterial calcification and are harmful to heart health (16).

Palm oil is also not heart-healthy but through different mechanisms and activities. Palm oil is high in saturated fats. Palm oil is one of the vegetable oils with the highest saturated fat content. The consumption of a diet rich in saturated fats can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease (17).

Cancer

Canola oil increases inflammation by reducing antioxidant activity (10). Furthermore, cooking with canola oil releases a lot of free radicals. Free radicals damage cells and cause inflammation which, with time, may lead to the growth of cancerous cells (16).

According to the European Food Safety Authority, refined oils such as palm oil release harmful substances/contaminants when heated or processed at 200°C (392°F) or more (18). Glycidol is one of the contaminants released. Glycidol is genotoxic and carcinogenic (18).

Effects on The Brain

A canola oil diet may affect working memory negatively (14). Moreover, canola oil causes the formation of plaques called beta amyloids. These plaques can signal the formation of neurodegenerative diseases (4).

References

  1. PHYSICAL PROPERTIES CANOLA
  2. Do Cooking Oils Present a Health Risk?
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6520036/
  4. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-17373-3
  5. https://www.scirp.org/journal/paperinformation.aspx?paperid=86339
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746113/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4365303/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24929428/
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128157763000292
  10. https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1007/s11745-002-0932-0
  11. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635581.2011.523498
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748732/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065441/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5719422/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215974/
  16. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/antioxidants-fact-sheet
  17. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510
  18. https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/process-contaminants-vegetable-oils-and-foods
Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian
Education: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Last updated: November 01, 2021

Infographic

Canola vs Palm oil infographic
Infographic link

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Iron +∞%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 0% 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Contains more Iron +∞%

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Canola Palm oil
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Sugar Equal
Lower in Sodium Equal
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Lower in glycemic index Equal
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Canola Palm oil Opinion
Net carbs 0g 0g
Protein 0g 0g
Fats 100g 100g
Carbs 0g 0g
Calories 884kcal 884kcal
Starch g g
Fructose g g
Sugar 0g 0g
Fiber 0g 0g
Calcium 0mg 0mg
Iron 0mg 0.01mg Palm oil
Magnesium 0mg 0mg
Phosphorus 0mg 0mg
Potassium 0mg 0mg
Sodium 0mg 0mg
Zinc 0mg 0mg
Copper 0mg 0mg
Vitamin A 0IU 0IU
Vitamin E 17.46mg 15.94mg Canola
Vitamin D 0IU IU Canola
Vitamin D 0µg µg Canola
Vitamin C 0mg 0mg
Vitamin B1 0mg 0mg
Vitamin B2 0mg 0mg
Vitamin B3 0mg 0mg
Vitamin B5 0mg 0mg
Vitamin B6 0mg 0mg
Folate 0µg 0µg
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 71.3µg 8µg Canola
Tryptophan mg 0mg Palm oil
Threonine mg 0mg Palm oil
Isoleucine mg 0mg Palm oil
Leucine mg 0mg Palm oil
Lysine mg 0mg Palm oil
Methionine mg 0mg Palm oil
Phenylalanine mg 0mg Palm oil
Valine mg 0mg Palm oil
Histidine mg 0mg Palm oil
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0.395g g Palm oil
Saturated Fat 7.365g 49.3g Canola
Monounsaturated Fat 63.276g 37g Canola
Polyunsaturated fat 28.142g 9.3g Canola

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Canola Palm oil
Low Fats diet Equal
Low Carbs diet Equal
Low Calories diet Equal
Low glycemic index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
44
Canola
28
Palm oil
Mineral Summary Score
0
Canola
0
Palm oil

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
0%
Canola
0%
Palm oil
Carbohydrates
0%
Canola
0%
Palm oil
Fats
462%
Canola
462%
Palm oil

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Canola
Canola is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 41.935g)
Which food is cheaper?
Canola
Canola is cheaper (difference - $2)
Which food contains less Sugar?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sugar (0 g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sodium (0 mg)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (0)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Canola - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172336/nutrients
  2. Palm oil - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171015/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.