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Canola oil can help trim inches off the waist

Researchers found a significant decrease of belly fat in a 
clinical trial of obese subjects who consumed canola oil

Canola oil can help reduce belly fat, a new study has found.

About 20 per cent of adults in Canada have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions — including belly fat — that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Researchers at the University of Manitoba, Laval University, and Penn State University tested five types of oils and found a significant decrease in abdominal fat of subjects on the canola and high-oleic canola oil diets.

“These results are likely due to the monounsaturated or ‘good’ fat that make up a large part of canola and high-oleic canola oil,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Penn State University who oversaw the study.

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The researchers conducted a clinical trial with 101 participants to compare the effects of five oils: canola oil; high-oleic canola oil; high-oleic canola oil with DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid); a corn and safflower oil blend; and a flax and safflower oil blend. The oils were consumed in smoothies twice a day as part of the participants’ daily diet. The subjects were randomized to a sequence of the five diets, which they followed for four weeks at a time with a period of four weeks in between during which they followed their usual diet. All of the participants had central obesity and at least one additional risk factor for metabolic syndrome — high blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides or low “good” HDL cholesterol.

At the end of the two-year study, researchers not only saw a significant decrease in abdominal fat mass in those on the canola and high-oleic canola oil diets but also a decrease in blood pressure.

This article first appeared on the Alberta Farmer Express.

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