The Big Difference Between Canola Oil And Olive Oil

Two of the most popular oils in the world are canola oil and olive oil. In fact, you probably have both of these products in your pantry right now. But you might be confused about the real difference between these oils and when it's best to use each one. Here's what you should know.

Canola oil is made from the seeds of a rapeseed plant that has been bred to be low in a toxin called erucic acid (via Livestrong). According to Livestrong, most commercial oils are extracted through a process of "crushing the seeds from the plant and then dissolving them in solvents" before refining and filtering the final product. Many canola oils lose important nutrients during the refining process, but cold-pressed oils maintain essential fatty acids and other nutrients.

Olive oil is extracted by pressing olives, which are the fruits that come from olive trees. Extra-virgin olive oil is the highest quality option because no heat or chemical solvents are used in the extracting and refining process. This maintains the oil's antioxidant content. Light olive oils are usually highly processed and do not have as many antioxidants.

Both oils can be a healthy addition to your diet

Both canola oil and olive oil deserve a place in your pantry. When the highest quality options are compared to each other, both have a similar nutrient profile (via Healthline). However, canola oil has a higher smoke point (the temperature at which an oil begins to burn) than olive oil. This makes canola a better option for cooking food at a high heat while olive oil is great for preparing food at a lower heat.

Canola oil is more affordable than olive oil, but cheap canola oil is highly processed and contains very few nutrients. Extra-virgin olive oil is easier to find in grocery stores but tends to be more expensive. Because high-quality olive oil is easier for the average person to find, many nutritionists recommend using this oil as much as possible.

"I would advise choosing olive oil almost every time," registered dietitian Isabel Smith, RD, told Well + Good. "Canola oil has a high smoke point, which is why it's often used when frying or cooking foods at high heat, but there are much better options, like avocado oil. Canola oil is also always the cheaper option, but spending the little bit of extra money on something like olive oil is always a recommendation of mine."