FAQs - rapeseed oil

Here's answers to frequently asked questions about rapeseed oil.

We'll keep adding to this as your questions roll in.

Who are Rapeseed Oil Benefits?

Why should we trust the nutrition information on this website?

Is vegetable oil rapeseed oil?

Is canola oil rapeseed oil?

Is rapeseed oil a wholegrain?

Is rapeseed oil produced in the UK?

Is rapeseed oil GM (Genetically Modified)?

Why is rapeseed oil a healthy choice?

Is olive oil better for you than rapeseed oil?

Can you use rapeseed oil for cooking at high temperatures - like for stir frying and deep fat frying?

Is it safe to use rapeseed oil in the deep fat fryer?
 
How many calories does 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil contain?

There's a lot of negative info on the web about rapeseed (canola) oil. Doesn't rapeseed oil contain toxic erucic acid? Is it safe to eat?

Is it unhealthy to have more omega 6 than omega 3 in an oil?

Is it beneficial for health to take a sip of rapeseed oil each day?

How do I get one of your recipe booklets?

Which cooking oils are the healthiest to use?

I can't find rapeseed oil in my local shop - where can I buy it?

What if I don't like the flavour of rapeseed oil?

Has there been an increase in the amount of oilseed rape being grown?

Are rapeseed oil crops (known as oilseed rape) highly allergenic?

How does coconut oil compare with rapeseed oil?

Can you buy rapeseed oil that has simply been made using presses?

Does rapeseed oil contain trans fat?

I take cod liver oil but is cold-pressed rapeseed oil a more natural way to get the same benefits?

I've been told that rapeseed oil when heated can be poisonous - is this true?


Who are Rapeseed Oil Benefits?

We exist to support our agriculture and horticulture industries. We value being independent and evidence-based. Have a look at our About us page for more info.

Why should we trust the nutrition information on this website?

There's a lot of confusing and misleading information on the internet.  We work with independent registered dietitians to ensure all our nutritional information is evidence-based and considerate of the totality of evidence available.  We will make changes should the evidence change.  A registered dietitian is someone who is registered with the Health Professional Council, trained at university level and undertakes clinical nutrition training in the NHS.  Dietetics is grounded in evidence-based nutritional science, which is published in peer reviewed scientific journals.  We also monitor scientific reviews by the government (e.g. Department of Health, Food Standards Agency, Public Health England), the European Commission, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, the British Nutrition Foundation etc. who establish guidelines and advice not off the back of single research studies, but on quality, published, peer-reviewed research and consultations.

Is vegetable oil rapeseed oil?

Yes - rapeseed oil is often labelled vegetable oil. Have a look at the label and ingredients list on the bottle of oil you use. You might be surprised to see that you're already using rapeseed oil. Some bottles even have pictured the sunny, yellow rapeseed flowers.

Is canola oil rapeseed oil?

Yes - this is the American name for rapeseed oil

Is rapeseed oil a wholegrain?

No - rapeseed oil is not a wholegrain.

It comes from the black seeds of the rapeseed plant, Brassica Napus, from the same Brassica family as the health enhancing vegetables broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.

Is rapeseed oil produced in the UK?

Yes - rapeseed oil is from the third most important crop grown in the UK after wheat and barley, and along with linseed are the only oils grown and bottled in the UK.

The rapeseed plant produces sunny, yellow flowers around springtime, so look out for golden fields brightening our beautiful landscapes during these months.

Is rapeseed oil GM (Genetically Modified)?

Rapeseed oil, along with linseed, are the only oils grown and bottled in the UK. In Britain, there are no commercially grown GM crops.

Why is rapeseed oil a healthy choice?

It's a healthy choice cooking oil as it has less unhealthy saturated fat than all other cooking oils and fats and is high in beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats omega 3, 6 and 9, so can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels as part of a healthy balanced diet, beneficial for heart health.

Is olive oil better for you than rapeseed oil?

Both oils are good choices as they are high in unsaturated fatty acids. However, rapeseed oil has less unhealthy saturated fat than all cooking oils - 50% less than olive oil.

You can compare the fat content of different cooking oils and butter using the chart at the bottom of our rapeseed oil health benefits page or by downloading our handout.

Can you use rapeseed oil for cooking at high temperatures - like for stir frying and deep fat frying?

Yes - rapeseed oil has a high smoke (or burn) point, so it can reach high temperatures without the fats breaking down and burning, maintaining its flavour and character.  This makes it a very versatile cooking oil as it can be used in a variety of different ways, from cold in salad dressings through to cooking at high temperatures for frying, roasting or baking.

See our chart comparing the smoke points of different cooking oils at the bottom of the shopping for rapeseed oil page.

Is it safe to use rapeseed oil in the deep fat fryer?

Yes - rapeseed oil is a good choice of oil for cooking at high temperatures, such as for use in your deep fat fryer, as it has a high smoke (or burn) point.

When you fry with oils it's best to choose an oil with a high smoke point. The smoke point for oils is the temperature at which the oil starts to give off smoke and burn. Using oils with a high smoke point means that the oil can withstand higher temperatures before the fats start to break down and off flavours develop. See our chart comparing different smoke points of oils at the bottom of the  shopping for rapeseed oil page.

Cooking oil is a highly flammable liquid. It is highly recommended to have a kitchen fire extinguisher available when deep frying. To prevent flare-ups and house fires, avoid letting oil contact direct flames.

How many calories does 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil contain?

All cooking oils (rapeseed, olive, sunflower etc.) contain 99% fat. A tablespoon provides approximately 99 calories, which can contribute to weight gain.

There's a lot of negative info on the web about rapeseed (canola) oil. Doesn't rapeseed oil contain toxic erucic acid? Is it safe to eat?

Yes, it is safe. Today, levels of erucic acid in foods are strictly controlled and regulated - so there is no risk of any harm to health.

Erucic acid is naturally found in some oils. There have been no confirmed reports of erucic acid causing health problems in humans, however, findings from animal and laboratory studies suggest that regular consumption of high levels of erucic acid may be a risk to heart health. As such, during the seventies and eighties, the levels of erucic acids in food were addressed and reduced - and remain strictly controlled and regulated for food safety today. 

Is it unhealthy to have more omega 6 than omega 3 in an oil?

Both omega 3 and 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are important for health and are essential in our diet as they cannot be made by the body. There is strong evidence linking diets high in omega 3 and reduced risk of heart disease.

Research commissioned by the Food Standards Agency previously concluded that the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 was not a useful concept as it distracts attention away from increasing intakes of omega 3.

Using rapeseed oil along with other vegetable oils and increasing intake of oily fish will help increase your intakes of omega 3 essential polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Rapeseed oil is an excellent choice of vegetable oil as it has a favourable fatty acid profile providing omega 3, 6, and 9, as well as having less unhealthy saturated fat than all other cooking oils.

Is it beneficial for health to take a sip of rapeseed oil each day?

There is no dietary recommendation to take a 'dose' of any oil per day. Most people use oils in cooking or on salads and rapeseed oil is one of the healthier oils for that purpose rather than for 'medicinal' purposes.

How do I get one of your recipe booklets?

You can order recipe booklets here

Which cooking oils are the healthiest to use?

Understand more about fat in your diet on the rapeseed oil health benefits page and download our handout that compares the fat content of different cooking oils and butter

I can't find rapeseed oil in my local shop - where can I buy it?

If your local shop doesn't stock something you want, you should go and ask for it - shops will stock what is in demand, so let them know what you want.

See our shopping for rapeseed oil page for help on how to find rapeseed oil in your shop. It is widely available, but may be labelled differently to how you would expect.

There are two types of rapeseed oil you can buy - standard (often labelled vegetable oil) and cold-pressed (sometimes labelled premium, virgin or extra virgin) - both are a healthy choice and have great cooking properties - so get them added to your shopping list.

What if I don't like the flavour of rapeseed oil?

As different vine yards and even different years produce different wines, flavours also vary greatly across different rapeseed oils - from incredibly mild and delicate to very distinctive. You can also buy flavoured/infused oils.

Has there been an increase in the amount of oilseed rape being grown?

In recent years oilseed rape is being grown more in the UK, as it is a good break crop for farmers to help them control weeds, and it has also become a more profitable crop for them.

Are rapeseed oil crops (known as oilseed rape) highly allergenic?

A Registered Dietitian has searched the science for you. Oilseed rape has been cultivated for centuries and there's no clear evidence that it has an adverse effect on our health.

There are a few studies that have shown that pollen from oilseed rape is allergenic, but data is highly conflicting and there is little evidence that oilseed rape pollen itself actively triggers hay fever symptoms, unlike grass and birch, which are the top two pollens that provoke hay fever.

One school of thought is that symptoms are in fact caused by these other allergens but incorrectly associated with oilseed rape because it is so visible with its bright yellow flowers. Although it may be possible that exposure to oilseed rape may increase symptoms in some people, there is as yet no evidence to suggest that these symptoms would be any different from, or more intense than those caused from other allergens (such as grass and birch).

Studies on the dispersal of oilseed rape pollen generally conclude that very little airborne pollen is transported over long distances.

Oilseed rape pollen does not generally contribute greatly to the total amount of pollen present in the general environment at the time oilseed rape flowers.

As is normal with plants, oilseed rape produces natural chemicals. Perhaps these may trigger a reaction similar to that caused by pollen in many people (e.g. watering eyes, irritated airways etc.) but we do not know if these compounds in nature ever reach concentrations high enough to cause physical effects.

How does coconut oil compare with rapeseed oil?

As you can see from the table below, overall rapeseed oil is a healthier choice due to its lower content of saturated fats and higher content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. 

 

per 100g 

Total fat

Saturated fats

Monounsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated fats

 

 

 

 

Total

Omega 6

Omega 3

Coconut oil

99.9g

86.5g

5g

1.5g

1.5g

-

Rapeseed oil

99.9g

6.6g

59.3g

29.3g

19.7g

9.6g

 

Can you buy rapeseed oil that has simply been made using presses?

Yes, look for 'cold-pressed' rapeseed oil - this is made simply by using presses to squeeze the oil out of the seeds.

Does rapeseed oil contain trans fat?

Shop bought rapeseed oil may contain very small amounts of trans fatty acids. On searching two different nutrient databases, one UK government database indicated that trans fats may be present but in unknown amounts, likely due to the very small amount present and a US database gave a value of 0.4g/100g, which would equate to around 0.04g per tablespoon, so very low. Indeed a UK government survey showed that trans fatty acid intakes were less than 2g per day for all age groups, representing 0.8% of food energy, which is much lower than the recommended upper level of 2% of food energy by the Government's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. Very small amounts of trans fatty acids might be formed when any vegetable oils are heated up to very high temperatures under pressure. However, in general, high temperatures and hydrogen are required to produce trans-fats and these conditions are not achievable in a domestic kitchen.

I take cod liver oil but is cold-pressed rapeseed oil a more natural way to get the same benefits?

Cod liver oil and rapeseed oil come from two different food groups - fish and plants so they will have a different make up. Both contain saturated and unsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. However cod liver oil also provides vitamin A and D, which is not found in rapeseed oil in appreciable amounts. Cod liver oil has historically been taken as a source of vitamin A and D.

I've been told that rapeseed oil when heated can be poisonous - is this true?

We're not aware of any scientific evidence that supports this. Rapeseed oil is a safe and nutritious edible oil. In fact it has a high smoke point in comparison to other oils, which is the temperature at which an oil starts to give off smoke and burn, making it an excellent choice for cooking at high temperatures.

Click here for a chart comparing different oils' smoke points.