Healthy Keto Fats: The Top Cooking Oil Substitute For Canola Oil

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Cooking oil on a pan

Are you looking for a substitute for canola oil? Fun Fact: The oil’s name is a blend of “Canada” and “ola” (oil). It’s an edible version of the rapeseed plant, which contains toxic chemical compounds. When picking a cooking oil there are many options including basic vegetable oil, olive oil, and even animal lard. With so many options it can be tough to pick a healthy option. If you’re on the Keto diet then you’ll also want to go with options that are low-carb, high-fat, and minimal food processing. Many people think that options like omega-6 cooking oils are healthy. However, it might be surprising which oils are Keto-friendly.

In recent years many people have been returning to saturated/omega-3 cooking oils. That even includes pork and beef fat. This was after decades of health experts telling the public that omega-6 vegetable oils were healthy options. That was also true of vegetable shortening, although trans-fat is now considered the unhealthiest fat you can eat. It turns out an important issue is how much processing is done to make cooking oils/fats. While butter is high in fat it’s a Keto-friendly food since it’s healthy fat from real dairy. It’s even better than canola oil.

What Exactly Is Canola Oil?

It’s important to take up this issue first to determine why it’s not a Keto-friendly oil. Canola oil is a highly-processed oil that’s an edible version of the rapeseed plant. The natural plant contains toxic chemical compounds including one called “erucic acid.”

Canola oil is safe to eat and contains various nutrients. However, it’s worth noting that the canola plant itself was developed through genetic modification. 90% of all US canola oil has genetically modified organisms (GMOs). So there’s a difference between canola being safe and healthy.

Canola plants are used to produce various products. They include cooking oil, animal feed, vehicle fuel, and tires. So the hybrid plant certainly has several uses.

That said, whether canola oil is healthy is quite another issue. It’s a highly-processed oil that includes a multi-step manufacturing process including:

  • Seed cleaning
  • Seed conditioning
  • Seed cooking
  • Processing
  • Oil processing

So it’s not surprising that canola oil isn’t chock-full of nutrients. In one tablespoon you get some Vitamin E (12% daily value) and Vitamin K (12% DV). However, that’s about it in terms of vitamins/minerals.

Another issue is the fatty acids found in the plant-based oil. It’s often advertised as a super-healthy oil since it’s low in saturated fat. It’s mostly unsaturated fat and just 7% saturated fat.

It’s also higher in omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s. While omega-3s are generally healthier you can still get some benefits of omega-6s including a lower risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

There are some other possible health-related issues. Canola oil can have up to 4% trans fat. However, this figure differs based on different products and is usually lower. That said, the World Health Organization (WHO) has promoted the ending of all trans-fats (artificial) by the year 2023.

Another issue with low-saturated-fat oils is they break down faster when using certain cooking methods. That includes frying and other high-heat methods.

Keto Substitute for Canola Oil

Coconut oil

This substitute for canola oil is high in omega-3s known as MCTs. Dairy products are also high in this type of fatty acid. Studies show that coconut oil can help you get into ketosis faster. This is the metabolic state that helps you burn fat faster on the Keto diet. It causes the body to get fuel from fat instead of carbs.

Coconut oil is high in saturated fat like olive oil. However, it’s a healthy source and also contains unsaturated fat. Coconut oil is also a good option for low-carb cooking/baking ingredients like coconut flour, oil, and milk.

Animal fat

This includes various options including pork and beef fat. Fun Fact: Beef fat is known as “tallow.” These natural fats have been trending in recent years.

Avocado oil

This one is high in healthy fat, Vitamin E, and omega-9s. Avocados are about 80% fat and it’s the healthy kind. It also holds up well when used at high temperatures. This makes it a good option for frying.

Olive oil

It’s not just good for salad dressing but also as a cooking oil. If you want the healthiest option then make sure to go with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) This is less processed and will hold up best when used at high heats like frying. Olive oil is high in saturated fat but it’s a healthier source than fatty meat, for example.


It turns out butter is a lot healthier than oil-based margarine since it contains real dairy. Butter is high in healthy saturated fat and is also a “complete protein.” That means it contains all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) people must get from food and supplements.

When picking butter, try to go with options like organic and grass-fed. Studies show that grass-fed cows produce meat and dairy that’s higher in omega-3s.

Worst Oils/Fats for Keto Diet

Vegetable Oils

It’s important to avoid vegetable oils high in omega-6 fatty acids. This differs from fruit-based ones like olive, avocado, and coconut. One of the main issues with vegetable oils is they’re usually highly-processed to produce cheap cooking oil.

It’s better to go with cooking oils that are high in saturated fat and omega-3s. These are healthier sources and include options like lard (pork fat) and tallow (beef fat).

A healthy Keto diet needs to have a high ratio of omega-3s versus omega-6s. Diets high in omega-6s are also higher in free radical molecules, which attack healthy cells and cause various health issues.

This doesn’t mean that you should avoid all omega-6 oils/fats. However, it’s important to consume more omega-3s since it’s a healthier option. Some good options include olive, coconut, and avocado oils. You can also consume other varieties like raw olives, coconut milk, and fresh avocado.


This fat exists naturally in some foods. However, it’s the artificial type that’s considered so unhealthy the United Nation’s WHO wants it banned by 2023. This oil was originally developed for tub margarine, which is a sign of how unhealthy it is. It’s also used for other products like vegetable shortening, which is also among the worst stuff you could eat.

Trans fat has been linked to many health conditions like obesity, inflammation, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease. These are all conditions you’ll want to avoid when looking for a substitute for canola oil.

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