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Canola Oil vs Sunflower Oil: Tips for Choosing the Healthiest Oil

canola oil vs sunflower oil

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What is canola oil vs sunflower oil? They are healthy oils high in unsaturated fatty acids. They are used for salad dressings and cooking. Their nutrients are necessary for our growth and development and health maintain. It is not easy to compare canola oil vs sunflower oil as there are three types of sunflower oil on the market with totally different fat contents. Nutritionists say that canola oil is more beneficial. We’ll try to find out the advantages of canola oil vs sunflower oil.


Canola oil is extracted from the canola plant seeds. The canola plant is a cultivar of rapeseed, it was grown in 1970s to have a low amount of erucic acid. Unlike rapeseed it is safe for people.  Sunflower oil is compressed from seeds of sunflower. The oils are almost identical in calories – about 120 kcal in one tablespoon.


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Fat content in canola oil vs sunflower Oil

You can buy several varieties of sunflower oil according to Wikipedia. The first one is regular sunflower oil high in polyunsaturated linoleic acid, or omega-6 fatty acid. Linoleic acid is converted into gamma-linoleic acid GLA in the body. GLA can help prevent or lessen diabetes type 2. However, omega-6 fatty acids play the inflammatory role in the body and their excess intake is undesirable. That’s why high-oleic sunflower oil has appeared. This oil is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid (80%). It is the healthiest sunflower oil. A new type of sunflower oil, mid-oleic or Nu-Sun, has appeared recently at the beginning of the 21st century. It has monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in a ratio about 2:1.

According to Wikipedia canola oil is low in saturated fatty acids and high in monounsaturates – however, less than high-oleic sunflower oil (61%). It has omega-3 ALA fatty acid, found rarely in oils but essentially needed for our health. Canola oil has less saturated fat than any of sunflower oils.


IMPORTANT! When is Canola Oil Bad for You?

Smoke point of canola oil vs sunflower oil

Canola oil is refined oil and has a smoke point of 400°F. This temperature is considered medium-high and lets use canola oil for baking, stir-frying and deep-frying. Some scientists admit that omega-3 fats in canola oil will break down at such high temperatures but there is no evidence in it yet.

Sunflower oil may be refined or unrefined. Unrefined sunflower oil has more nutrients, phytosterols and phospholipids in its content. It has a low smoke point and can be used for salad dressing and low-heat cooking. Refined sunflower oil of any type begins to smoke only at high temperatures, so it is ideal for frying and oven-cooking.