High-oleic acid canola oil can help cut down belly fat in four weeks, recent research finds.
Canola oil-based diets have also been shown to lower cholesterol levels and provide health benefits in obese people.
Canola oil is low in saturated fat but high in monounsaturated fatty acids and mainly used in cooking and salad dressing.
Excess belly fat, which is located in the abdominal area, is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome.
This medical condition is a combination of high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes which puts a person at greater risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Almost one in three US adults, one in four adults in the UK, and one in five Canadian adults have metabolic syndrome.
But a study has found that canola oil can reduce abdominal obesity in people who are at higher risk for metabolic syndrome and cardiometabolic disease.
Professor Penny Kris-Etherton explained:
“Visceral, or abdominal, fat increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, and is also associated with increased risk for conditions such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
Monounsaturated fats in canola oil decrease this fat that has adverse health effects.”
Participants in this study had abdominal obesity and either had metabolic syndrome or were at risk for it.
Participants followed five diets to test different five oils, but only the canola oil diet led to abdominal fat loss.
Based on participants’ daily calorie needs, the quantity of treatment oil was calculated.
For instance, a person on a 3,000-calorie diet would have 60 grams of canola oil a day to make up 18 percent of this calorie intake.
They drank two smoothies every day and each smoothie contained 30 grams of canola oil (two tablespoons) with 100 grams of non-fat milk, 100 grams of orange sherbet, and 100 grams of frozen unsweetened strawberries.
The results showed a reduction of 1.6 percent in belly fat after four weeks consumption of high-oleic acid canola oil a day.
Professor Kris-Etherton said:
“As a general rule, you can’t target weight loss to specific body regions.
But monounsaturated fatty acids seem to specifically target abdominal fat.”
Canola oil is extracted from rapeseed and there is a concern about rapeseed oil.
Rapeseed contains erucic acid which is toxic to humans when consumed in large amounts.
However, if canola oil contains less than 2 percent erucic acid, it is generally recognized as safe.
About the author
Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.
The study was published in the journal Obesity (Liu et al., 2016).