For those who may be looking to shed a few unwanted pounds, a new study suggests that canola oil might be worth a serious look. Canola oil, which is made from a plant known as rapeseed, is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. According to the study, monounsaturated fatty acids have been shown to have a positive effect on body composition, specifically among those who battle obesity.
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This particular study shows that canola oil may be an effective tool in combating abdominal fat. Over the years, belly fat is something that seems to have developed a bit of a reputation for being stubborn and difficult to get rid of, especially as people get older.
In the study, in which there were 101 different participants, it is described how researchers at Pennsylvania State University tested the effects of “five different vegetable blends.” The blends they tested included conventional canola, high oleic acid canola, high oleic acid canola with an omega-3 known as DHA, corn/safflower, and flax/safflower.
According to the study, each of the participants struggled with belly fat and were at risk for a number of health issues.
“All of the participants had abdominal obesity, or increased waist circumference, and were either at risk for or had metabolic syndrome — a group of conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low HDL (also known as good cholesterol) and excess body fat around the waist.”
In the study, which was presented at The Obesity Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting, researchers found that canola oil produced noticeable results in as little as a four-week period. After just one month of following diets that consisted of canola oil, participants had roughly one quarter pound less belly fat than they did prior to beginning their treatment regimens.
Moreover, the weight that was lost from the mid-section did not reappear in other areas of the body either, according to the study. Targeted weight loss appears to be a difficult thing to accomplish, but it seems that using monounsaturated fats might provide an exception to the rule.
“As a general rule, you can’t target weight loss to specific body regions,” Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Penn State Professor of Nutrition, said in the study. “But monounsaturated fatty acids seem to specifically target abdominal fat.”
At random, the participants, whose treatments were carefully customized based on calorie and energy needs, were then assigned to drink two smoothies per day over a four-week period. They were then given a four-week break before entering into the next phase.
To add canola oil to your diet, Kris-Etherton recommends using it to bake or saute food, mixing it into smoothies, or tossing it on salads. The study concluded with the researchers saying that in the future, more studies should be conducted on the effects of diets high in monounsaturated fatty acids.
In addition to canola oil, there are other sources of monounsaturated fats as well. According to The American Heart Association, other “plant based liquid oils” that meet this description include olive oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, and sesame oil. The American Heart Association also describes how monounsaturated fats can help lower bad cholesterol levels, too.
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Nicole Lyn Pesce of The New York Daily News reported that over this past summer, a JAMA Internal Medicine study discovered that swapping out saturated fats with monounsaturated fats, including canola oil, might reduce death risk from certain diseases. Among these were heart and respiratory disease, dementia, and cancer.
America’s obesity epidemic, which has rightfully received a great deal of coverage in recent years, is a big cause of concern among many. According to The New York Times, Americans now feel that obesity is tied with cancer as the country’s biggest health threat.
If the research holds up, it will be good to know that something as simple as incorporating canola oil into a daily diet routine might be enough to make a small difference. In addition to exercise and other diet routines or weight-loss methods, canola oil might just be another small, but helpful, tool to keep in mind in the fight against obesity.
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