Canola oil might break down stubborn belly fat

By Karin Lillis • Published: February 3rd, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Are you tired of that stubborn belly fat? Adding a dose of canola oil to your daily diet might cut the fat that tends to gather around your abdomen. So says a small study by a research team from Pennsylvania State University. Their findings appear to be an exception to a long-held belief that you can’t target weight loss from specific areas of the body through diet or exercise.

Canola oil is among a group of “healthy” fats — monounsaturated, in this case — that may decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and other disorders. Foods rich in monounsaturated fats include plant-based oils such as olive, peanut, canola, safflower and sesame oil. Sesame seeds, avocados and nuts are also good sources for this type of so-called “healthy” fat.

The 101 study participants consumed two smoothies a day that had one of five kinds of vegetable oils including canola, corn/safflower and flax/safflower blends.

All of the participants had excess belly fat. They were either diagnosed with or at risk of metabolic syndrome — a condition that includes obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, low levels of HDL (or “good”) cholesterol and abdominal obesity.

After four weeks on a diet that included canola oil, participants lost about a quarter-pound of abdominal fat, leading the team to conclude that certain monounsaturated fats might directly target fat around the midsection.

This should not be seen as a substitute for eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, but the researchers said there are benefits to adding canola oil to smoothies and salad dressings, or using it for baking or sautéing food.