Choosing the right type of oil in your cooking is an important part of healthy eating, and knowing when to supplement one type of oil over another can be tricky – especially when it comes to vegetable oil over canola oil.
To help, we have put together all that you need to know about these types of oils, including when to use one in place of the other, and when this is best avoided.
So can you use vegetable oil instead of canola?
What Is Vegetable Oil?
Vegetable oil is simply oil extracted from vegetables such as soybeans, sunflower seeds, or rapeseed.
It is used in many different applications, including cooking and baking.
In fact, most people think of vegetable oil as being interchangeable with olive oil, which is also made from olives.
But while both are made from plant sources, they differ in several key areas.
For example, olive oil is typically pressed from ripe olives, whereas vegetable oil is usually extracted from unripe ones.
Additionally, olive oil tends to contain more monounsaturated fats, whilst vegetable oil is often richer in polyunsaturated fats.
What Is Canola Oil?
Canola oil is derived from the rapeseed plant. It is widely used in food products, particularly baked goods.
It is also commonly found in salad dressings and mayonnaise.
Like vegetable oil, canola oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats, but unlike vegetable oil, it is low in saturated fat.
As well as having a lower level of saturated fat, canola oil also has a slightly higher smoke point than vegetable oils.
This means that it lasts longer at high temperatures, making it ideal for frying foods.
How Do They Differ?
The main difference between canola oil and vegetable oil is that canola oil is produced using a process called hydrogenation.
Hydrogenation involves adding hydrogen atoms to unsaturated fats, turning them into saturated fats.
This makes canola oil much easier to store and transport, and it also gives it a longer shelf life.
Advantages Of Vegetable Oil Over Canola Oil
Some of the main advantages of vegetable oils include:
As a rule, vegetable oil tends to be lower in price than canola oil, and this is due to its lower production costs. This makes vegetable oil a good option for those on a budget.
Fewer Trans Fats
Unlike canola oil, vegetable oils don’t undergo any chemical changes during their manufacturing process.
This means that they tend to have fewer trans fats than canola oil.
Higher Smoke Point
Because vegetable oils are not chemically altered, they retain their original properties better than canola oil.
This means that they have a higher smoke point, which allows them to withstand higher heat levels without burning.
Advantages Of Canola Oil Over Vegetable Oil
On the other hand, canola oil offers a number of advantages over vegetable oil, and these include:
Better Health Benefits
One of the biggest benefits of canola oil is that it is packed full of healthful nutrients. These include antioxidants and essential fatty acids.
Because of this, canola oil is thought to help protect against heart disease and cancer.
Longer Shelf Life
Another advantage of canola oil is its ability to keep for longer periods of time.
This is partly because the production process helps to ensure that this oil does not spoil in the same way as some vegetable oils do.
However, you should still use canola oil within six months of purchase.
Lower Saturated Fat Content
Although canola oil contains less saturated fat than vegetable oil, it does contain more than olive oil. This means that it is best suited to those who want to reduce their intake of saturated fats.
Can I Use Vegetable Oil Instead Of Canola Oil?
So, can you substitute vegetable oil for canola oil? The answer is yes – if a recipe calls for canola oil but you only have vegetables, the latter can be supplemented for the former.
In fact, there are many recipes where vegetable oil will work just fine in place of canola oil.
If you’re looking for an alternative to canola oil, then you might consider using another type of vegetable oil instead.
Some of the most popular healthy alternatives for oil include:
Sunflower oil is one of the healthier options available when it comes to cooking with oil.
It has a high smoke point, meaning that it can withstand high temperatures without burning.
Sunflower oil is also rich in vitamin E, which is known to improve your skin’s elasticity.
Soybean oil is a great choice for people who are allergic to nuts or who prefer nut-free foods.
It is also low in saturated fats, making it a good option for anyone trying to lose weight.
Olive oil is a very popular cooking oil, especially among Mediterranean countries.
It is also a source of monounsaturated fats, which are considered beneficial for cardiovascular health.
Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants, so it may help prevent certain types of cancers.
Coconut oil is made from coconut meat, which makes it a unique food product.
It is also extremely nutritious, containing lots of vitamins and minerals.
Coconut oil is often used in baking due to its high melting point.
How Can I Store Cooking Oil Safely?
When storing cooking oil, make sure that you store it in a cool, dark location, and make sure that you check the expiration date on your oil before using it.
Once the date passes, you’ll need to discard it.
What Are the Health Benefits of Using Cooking Oils?
Cooking oils are a vital part of our diet. They provide us with energy, help us absorb other important nutrients, and even help us fight off illness.
Here are some of the ways that they benefit our bodies:
They Help Keep Our Bodies Healthy
Cooking oils are essential for maintaining proper levels of cholesterol in our blood.
When we eat them regularly, they help lower bad LDL cholesterol while raising good HDL cholesterol.
They Improve Your Skin
Many people use olive oil to moisturize their skin, as it is thought to be beneficial for improving the appearance of wrinkles.
Other oils like sunflower seed oil and avocado oil are also excellent choices for treating dry skin and can be used topically on the surface of the skin, or in dishes and recipes.
They Fight Off Illness
Some research suggests that eating more fish may reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are an important component of fish oil, and these compounds have been shown to help protect against stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.
They Support Digestion
Most people know that healthy digestion is important for overall health.
However, many people don’t realize how important cooking oils are for promoting proper digestion.
The fat content of cooking oils helps break down proteins, carbohydrates, and starches into smaller molecules that can then be absorbed by the body.
They Protect Against Cancer
Research shows that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, colon, and ovarian cancer.
Canola oil, in particular, is high in omega-3 acids, and so can be particularly useful in this sense.
They Prevent Heart Disease
Studies suggest that regular consumption of cooking oils may help prevent heart disease.
Olive oil has been shown to improve blood flow through arteries, helping to prevent clogged arteries.
They May Lower Blood Pressure
Olive oil has been shown to help lower blood pressure.
Research published in the Journal of Hypertension showed that when people ate extra virgin olive oil for just two weeks, their systolic blood pressure dropped by about 7 points.
They Help Maintain Bone Density
The bones are made mostly of calcium, phosphorus, and protein.
Calcium is needed to build strong bones, but too little calcium can cause osteoporosis.
Phosphorus is needed to make bone tissue, but too much phosphorus can lead to kidney stones.
Protein is needed to maintain muscle mass and strength, but too much protein can lead to kidney problems.
Cooking oils, including canola oil and vegetable oils provide all three of these key components.
That’s why they’re so important for keeping bones strong and preventing osteoporosis.
Despite their differences, vegetable oil and canola oil can be used interchangeably in most recipes, and it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each to ensure that you get the best results.