Soybean oil vs. Canola oil — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison
Soybean oil has been around for millennia, whereas canola oil is extracted from genetically modified plants and was first produced in the 1970s.
Both oils provide 124 calories and 14g of fats per one tablespoon serving; however, canola oil contains 1.5 times more monounsaturated fats and 1.3 times less polyunsaturated fats than partially hydrogenated soybean oil.
Non-hydrogenated soybean oil is 3 times lower in monounsaturated fats and 2 times higher in polyunsaturated fats than canola oil.
Canola oil is 2 times lower in saturated fats.
Non-hydrogenated soybean oil may be more beneficial to cardiovascular health compared to canola and partially hydrogenated soybean oils.
People often use cooking oils interchangeably without paying much attention to their specific features. However, various vegetable oils differ in their physical characteristics, nutritional properties, and health impact.
In this article, we will be comparing soybean oil with canola oil.
Soybean oil and canola oil are both classified as vegetable oils. They are derived from plant-based sources and are commonly used in cooking and food production. Soybean oil is obtained from the seeds of the soybean plant, while canola oil is obtained from crushing the seeds of the canola plant.
The canola plant is a genetically modified cultivar of the rapeseed plant. Canola oil is similar to rapeseed oil except for its erucic acid content. Erucic acid is the component of rapeseed oil that makes it hazardous for health when consumed in large quantities. Unlike rapeseed oil, canola oil has low amounts of this acid and is generally accepted as safe for consumption.
Smoke Point, Taste, and Use
The smoke point is an important characteristic of cooking oils, demonstrating at which temperature the oil starts to burn or smoke. Cooking oils with higher smoke points are better for frying or baking at high temperatures, while oils with low smoke points are preferably used as salad dressings.
Canola oil has a smoke point of around 428 to 446°F (220 to 230°C), while soybean oil has a smoke point falling in the range of 392 to 410°F (200 to 210°C) (1, 2). These values can be considered moderate, and while canola oil tends to have a higher smoke point, both of these oils can be used at high temperatures.
Soybean oil is much more commonly used in various cultures than canola oil. Canola oil is a relatively new oil, being first produced in the 1970s in Canada. The name “canola” comes from mixing the words Canada and oil, low acid (OLA). Soybean oil, however, has been known to humans for millennia.
The nutritional infographics below are presented for 100g servings of partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salad or cooking, and canola oil. We will also talk about non-hydrogenated soybean oil for comparison.
However, cooking oils are not usually used in such large amounts. One average serving size of cooking oils per person is considered to be one tablespoon, weighing around 14g, or one teaspoon, equal to 4.5g.
Macronutrients and Calories
Fats and Calories
Like most cooking oils, canola and soybean oil equally consist of 100% fats, providing 884 calories per 100g serving.
Thus, an average serving of canola or soybean oil per person (1 tbsp) contains 14g of fats and 124 calories. However, soybean oil is higher in saturated and polyunsaturated fats, while canola oil is richer in monounsaturated oils.
More precisely, soybean oil contains 2 times more saturated and 1.3 times more polyunsaturated fats, whereas canola oil has 1.5 times more monounsaturated fats.
Fat Type Comparison
However, compared to non-hydrogenated soybean oil, canola oil is almost 3 times higher in monounsaturated fats and 2 times lower in polyunsaturated fats (3).
In other words, non-hydrogenated soybean oil is higher in polyunsaturated and lower in monounsaturated fats compared to partially hydrogenated soybean oil.
Canola oil is about 3 times richer in oleic acid (18:1), while soybean oil contains 2 times more linoleic acid (18:2) (1). Canola oil contains erucic acid, whereas soybean is absent in this.
Carbohydrates and Protein
Both canola and soybean oil lack carbohydrates and protein entirely.
Canola and soybean oil contain only 2 fat-soluble vitamins - vitamins E and K. Canola oil is 2 times higher in vitamin E and almost 3 times richer in vitamin K.
Soybean and canola oils do not contain notable amounts of any minerals.
The glycemic index of foods with no carbohydrates, including both soybean and canola oils, is considered to be 0, as the consumption of these foods does not raise blood glucose levels.
According to research, swapping saturated fats for unsaturated fats can lower the chance of developing cardiovascular disease (4). However, although canola oil is lower in saturated and higher in unsaturated fats, soybean oil has been studied to improve serum levels of fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol, and lipoproteins faster than canola oil (5).
Partially hydrogenated soybean oil adversely altered the fat profile of people with high cholesterol compared to non-hydrogenated soybean and canola oil (6).
In experimental animals, both these oils increased blood pressure after prolonged periods of high intake; however, soybean oil increased blood pressure less than canola oil (7).
As all vegetable oils, canola and soybean oil contain no carbohydrates and do not raise blood glucose levels after consumption.
In people with type 2 diabetes, soybean oil improved blood lipid and glucose markers more significantly than canola oil. Nevertheless, the intake of canola oil was found to decrease waist circumference and weight (5).
That being said, high soybean and canola oil consumption can lead to liver fatty acid accumulation and liver inflammation (8).
In short, canola and soybean oil can have beneficial impacts on health only when consumed in moderation.
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in Sugar||Equal|
|Lower in Sodium||Equal|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
|Lower in Glycemic Index||Equal|
|Lower in price||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|
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Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.
- Soybean oil - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171012/nutrients
- Canola oil - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172336/nutrients
All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.