Canola oil is often suggested as an alternative to olive oil for those wanting to follow a Mediterranean-style diet. However, canola oil (also known as rapeseed oil) is quite different from olive oil and might not have the same effect.
Researchers sought out to examine whether canola oil is suitable as an alternative for following a Mediterranean-style diet for individuals who live in countries where olive oil is not produced locally.
In the study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers reviewed evidence from experimental, epidemiological and clinical studies of the health benefits of rapeseed oil (known as canola oil) and olive oil.
For olive oil, the researchers characterized the evidence for cardiovascular protection as “convincing” where as evidence for canola was limited to short-term studies and they noted that any benefits seen were likely to be due to α‑linolenic acid of canola oil, but which is prone to oxidation during frying. Most of the health benefits from olive oil are due to the antioxidants it contains.
The researchers concluded that, due to lack of evidence that may show that canola oil is comparable to olive oil in terms of health benefits, canola oil cannot be recommended as a suitable substitute for extra virgin olive oil for a Mediterranean style diet.