Olive oil v. Canola oil
I always thought olive oil was 'healthier'....until I put both bottles of olive oil and canola oil in the fridge. Several days later, I found the olive oil completely hard, with the consistency of fridge-cooled chicken fat. The canola oil, on the other hand, was free-flowing, just cooled.
We hear the benefits of olive oil in ads, food networks, nutrition labels, diet guides, and so forth. I hardly hear (or see) anyone or any place using or selling canola oil in the same context as its more 'refined' counterpart.
Which do you prefer, and why?
Canola is about marketing, not health. It's fat profile means it's very likely to taste fishy to many palates when used over high heat. And there are still unresolved health questions about what happens to it over high heat. Absolutely no need to use it when there are many other flavorless high-heat friendly oils out there. But the canola industry has a great marketing gimmick, I will say that.
Olive oil has withstood the test of time. It is 75% oleic acid, which is a stable monounsaturated fat, and 13% saturated fat (important for many reason). The omega-6 to omega-3 balance is 10%-3%.
Canola is 57% oleic, 5% saturated, and the omega-6 to omega-3 is 23%-10%. It has a high sulfur content and goes rancid quicker than olive - baked goods made with canola oil develop molds quickly. Some canola oil has trans fatty acids, formed during the deodorizing process. There is some evidence that even though the poisonous erucic acid in the rape seed is removed to acceptable levels, canola still can cause heart lesions, especially in those who severely limit their saturated fat intake.
In general, why use an oil that is derived from a plant that is poisonous and is processed to be useful, when there is a proven healthy oil that has been around for millenia?
No wonder the olive oil solidified. My view is that with doubly less saturated fat, and more omega-fats, the canola oil is healthier. We can be speculative of 'newer' oils, or those derived from unlikely sources, but when presented with different varieties of the same genre of condiments and foods, I suppose my choice depends on the immediate health effects (and not the time-tested theory).
You seem to be misunderstanding the significance of the percentage of omega acids and the Omega6/Omega 3 ratio.
Also, you seem to not be aware that the benefits of the higher levels of monounsaturated fat in olive oil outweigh the benefits of lower levels of saturated fat in canola oil.
Perhaps a little more reading about this is in order? Doing so may cause you to re-write your last sentence.
And we haven't even discussed flavor.
Healthier? On what can you base that assumption?
Canola oil (rapeseed, but that name didn't exactly sell) is highly genetically modified to minimize its carcinogenic and toxic properties, terrible taste, and tendency to quickly go rancid. Foods cooked in it don't taste particularly good. I once bought into the supposed "truth" that tropical oils went straight to your arteries. Whoops - now they are being marketed as health foods (which is probably equally untrue). Millions bought the "fact" that margarine was healthy and butter bad. Whoops. Trans fat today; genetically modified rapeseed tomorrow? Who knows, but I wouldn't be even a little surprised.
Oh yes, then there is Monsanto's "RoundUp-Ready" canola that is taking over the world a little at a time. Seems a court ruling dictates that an unfortunate farmer growing "standard" rapeseed must both pay Monsanto AND not keep seeds for future years should some of Monsanto's patented seeds get blown onto his land.
That's why I believe in the philosophy that everything in moderation. Because coconut oil is being tooted as health(ier?) than originally thought, I will use it in moderation. I doubt using too much of it would be a good thing.
I use extra virgin olive oil, for most things, especially for salads, etc. where I will not be heating.
I use butter (again in moderation) for certain cooked foods (eggs, fried onions, etc.)
I try to avoid canola oil, because I think there is enough skepticism to avoid using it regularly. However, if I eat out, I do not ask whether the cook put canola oil in my dish. I don't think it is THAT dangerous.
I use other vegetable oils, where necessary, in moderation, because they also raise concerns, similar to canola, in relation to the processing of them. But sometimes, they just make the most sense, from a cost, heat and neutral flavour perspective.
I think a lot of it is common sense. Margarine never REALLY seemed like a good idea. Both from a health perspective and a taste perspective (maybe from a kosher one).
Generally, too much of any added fat should be avoided.
There have been a lot of discussions of various oils here. Personally, I don't like canola oil -- I think it's one of those lab-created foods that is considered healthy now and later will be shown to be bad for you (like transfats and HFCS). Here's a link to a recent comprehensive discussion of the pros and cons of various fats: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/361304