Canola oil vs Palm oil - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
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.
Table of contents
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.
Palm oil is the most extracted and popular oil as its yield is very high. Canola oil is lower in price.
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.
The oils are equal in caloric value which comes from the fat component.
A 100g of each of these oils provides 884 calories.
Both oils are void of any carbohydrates.
Both oils have a glycemic index of 0 as they are composed entirely of fat.
Both oils do not contain any proteins.
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).
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).
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).
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.
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
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).
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).
- PHYSICAL PROPERTIES CANOLA
- Do Cooking Oils Present a Health Risk?
Fat Type Comparison
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in price|
|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
|Omega-6 - Linoleic acid||18.64g|
|Omega-3 - ALA||9.137g|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet||Equal|
|Low Carbs diet||Equal|
|Low Calories diet||Equal|
|Low glycemic index diet||Equal|