NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Including canola oil in your diet may help you lose abdominal fat in just four weeks, researchers at Penn State suggest in a new study.
Canola oil has long been praised as a healthier alternative to other cooking oils such as vegetable oil or corn oil. In a study presented at The Obesity Society's Annual Scientific Meeting, scientists say consuming canola oil can provide a variety of benefits.
"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," Penn State nutrition profesor Penny Kris-Etherton said in a press release. "Monounsaturated fats in canola oil decrease this fat that has adverse health effects."
Canola oil, a substance high in monounsaturated fatty acids, was observed to noticeably reduce abdominal fat after just one month of regular consumption.
"As a general rule, you can't target weight loss to specific body regions," Kris-Etherton added. "But monounsaturated fatty acids seem to specifically target abdominal fat."
During the study, the research team analyzed 101 obese participants who were tasked with drinking two smoothies each day. Five different vegetable oils were tested: conventional canola, high-oleic acid canola, high-oleic acid canoa with DHA, a corn/safflower oil blend, and a flax/safflower oil blend. Each participant followed each oil diet for four weeks, with a 4-week break between each diet period. Quantities of oil were calculated based on energy needs.
After adhering to a canola diet for four weeks, participants had on average .11 kilograms, or a quarter pound, less belly fat than they did before the diet, and researchers say that weight was not redistributed to other areas of the body.
While canola oil was shown to reduce body fat, researchers stress additional studies are needed to account for the long-term effects of diet with high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids.