Can you replace vegetable oil with canola oil

Can you replace vegetable oil with canola oil

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can you replace vegetable oil with canola oil?” with an analysis of the reason, how can you replace vegetable oil with canola oil as well as the health benefits and the uses of canola oil in our daily life. Moreover, we are going to discuss how vegetable oil is different from canola oil.

Can you replace vegetable oil with canola oil?

Yes, vegetable oil can be replaced with canola oil. There may be a difference between canola and other vegetable oils in terms of flavor and nutrition profile, but both vegetable oil and canola oil have high smoke points.

Canola oil has a smoke point of 230°C while the smoke point of other vegetable oil ranges from 195 °C (olive oil) to 234°C (soybean oil) [1]. 

Therefore, they can be used as a substitute for each other for frying, and cooking.

What is the difference between canola oil and vegetable oil?

Canola oil

Canola oil is produced from rapeseed using plant breeding techniques. These techniques were introduced by researchers in the early 1970s in order to produce oil reduced in erucic acid, a fat component that is potentially harmful to health [2,3]. 

It is a refined, neutral oil, which means it has a mild flavor. It can also be used at high temperatures, for instance for frying and cooking.

Canola oil is low in saturated fats, free from trans fats, and a good source of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. 

According to Lin and others [2], canola oil is characterized by 7% of saturated fats, about 61% of monounsaturated fats, and 30% of polyunsaturated fats. 

Vegetable oil

Vegetable oil is the broad term used for oils that have a plant-based origin. These include corn, soybean, avocado, peanut, flaxseed oil, sunflower, and olives, for instance. 

Vegetable oils are naturally good sources of healthy fats (namely mono and polyunsaturated fats), and free of trans fats. However, the fat profile can vary greatly between different types of vegetable oil. 

Just to give you a few examples,  linseed oil has 70% of polyunsaturated fats (mostly omega-3), while olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats (80%), but is poor in polyunsaturated fats (14% or below) [4].

On the other hand, soybean and corn oils are low in omega-3 and monounsaturated fats, but high in omega-6 fatty acids (about 60% of total fats) [4].

Compared with canola oil, most cooking and frying vegetable oils (e.g. soybean, corn oil) contains a lower concentration of omega-3 and monounsaturated fatty acids.  

Is canola oil safe?

Yes, canola oil is stated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) since 1985 [2].

Canola oil has a low content of erucic acid as a result of rapeseed oil being bred to contain low levels of this fatty acid (less than 2%). Erucic acid at high levels of consumption is associated with adverse effects on the heart in several species [5]. 

Therefore, canola oil is safe for consumption.

How to replace vegetable oil with canola oil?

As canola oil has a mild flavor and high smoke point (about 200-230°C) it can be used to make the same dishes you would do with other vegetable oils having these same features [1]. 

Therefore, to replace one with another, just use equal amounts of canola oil instead of vegetable oil for baking, grilling, stir-frying, in sauces and salad dressings, or to coat the non-stick pan.

Is canola oil healthier than vegetable oil? 

It depends on the oil and on the ratio of ingestion of each of them. When consumed in balanced amounts in an equilibrated diet, both can be healthy.  

Vegetable oils are most of the time sunflower, soybean, corn, or a mixture of them. These oils are higher in omega-6 fatty acids and lower in omega-3 and monounsaturated fats than canola oil.

Particularly, canola oil contains 60% of monounsaturated fat, 21% of omega-6, and 11% of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Due to this fat profile, evidence now shows that canola oil can bring benefits to your health when consumed in adequate amounts and combined with an equilibrated diet. 

With regard to the high monounsaturated fats content of canola oil, Lin and others [2] highlighted the evidence supporting the positive effects of them compared with saturated fats on cardiovascular health.

Cited underlying mechanisms for cardiovascular protection include the regulation of plasma lipids and lipoproteins, susceptibility of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) to oxidation, and insulin sensitivity [2,3]. 

Also, canola oil has been recommended for achieving daily omega-3 fatty acids requirements of 1 g/day [2,3], as it contains about 11% of this compound in relation to the total fat content.

Omega-3 fatty acids have also been implicated with anti-inflammatory properties, reduction of blood pressure, and lowering of serum triglycerides and cholesterol levels [2,3].

Despite omega-6 fatty acids being essential nutrients that must be obtained from the diet, unbalanced ingestion of this fat compound has been linked with pro-inflammatory outcomes. 

Thus, the best thing to do is not to extinguish vegetable oils from your diet because they also have important nutrients in their composition. Rather, limit the consumption of oils high in omega-6 by partially replacing them with sources rich in omega-3. 

Which one is healthier, Canola oil or olive oil?

When consumed in balanced amounts in an equilibrated diet, both can be healthy. 

However, in addition to being rich in unsaturated fat, particularly virgin and extra virgin olive oil contains minor compounds in their composition that are associated with health-promoting effects. 

Examples of minor compounds present in olive oil are phenolic compounds which act as antioxidants, squalene, and phytosterols. All of these compounds have been associated with cardiovascular protection [6].

Due to the presence of these minor compounds, recent studies have shown that cooking or frying with olive oil can indeed be healthier than with other oils [6].

What are the advantages of using canola oil as a substitute for vegetable oil?

Canola oil is now pointed out as one of the healthiest oils due to its high content of monounsaturated fats and reasonable concentration of omega-3 fatty acids [2,3].  It has been compared to other dietary oils like sunflower oil, and soybean oil.

Although mixed conclusions have been reported, a number of studies have highlighted that canola oil significantly improved different cardiometabolic risk factors compared to other edible oils [7]. 

Therefore, using canola oil in equilibrated and balanced amounts can bring extra benefits to your health.

Nutritional value of canola oil

14g or 1 tablespoon of canola oil contains the following nutrients [2,3]:

  • It contains 4 grams of polyunsaturated fats that are heart-healthy and are considered good fats. 

Moreover, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (the polyunsaturated fats in canola oil) are essential nutrients that must be obtained from the diet.

  • It also contains 8 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids. 
  • There is no protein, minerals, or carbohydrates present in the canola oil. 
  • 9 milligrams of vitamin E 


In the brief guide, we answered the question “Can you replace vegetable oil with canola oil?”, with an analysis of the reason why can we replace vegetable oil with canola oil as well as the health benefits and the uses of canola oil in our daily life. Moreover, we discussed how vegetable oil is different from canola oil.


1.    Alvarenga, BR, Xavier, FAN., Soares, FLF. et al.

Thermal Stability Assessment of Vegetable Oils by Raman Spectroscopy and Chemometrics. Food Anal. Methods. 2022; 11:1969–1976.

2. Lin Lin, Hanja Allemekinders, Angela Dansby, Lisa Campbell, Shaunda Durance-Tod, Alvin Berger, Peter JH Jones, Evidence of health benefits of canola oil. Nutrition Reviews. 2013;71(6):370–385.

3. Ghazani, SM, Marangoni, AG. Minor Components in Canola Oil and Effects of Refining on These Constituents: A Review. J Am Oil Chem Soc. 2013; 90: 923–932.

4. Frankel N E. Lipid oxidation. Oily Print, 2005.


6.    Elena S. George, Skye Marshall, Hannah L Mayr, Gina L. Trakman, Oana A. Tatucu-Babet, Annie-Claude M. Lassemillante, Andrea Bramley, Anjana J. Reddy, Adrienne Forsyth, Audrey C. Tierney, Colleen J. Thomas, Catherine Itsiopoulos & Wolfgang Marx. The effect of high-polyphenol extra virgin olive oil on cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Crit Reviews in Food Sci and Nut. 2019;59:2772-2795.

7.    Amiri M, Raeisi-Dehkordi H, Sarrafzadegan N, Forbes SC, Salehi-Abargouei A. The effects of Canola oil on cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis with dose-response analysis of controlled clinical trials. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2020;30(12):2133-2145. 

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