Monounsaturated fats found in canola oil (they are also prevalent in olive oil, avocados and nuts) have been found to not only decrease abdominal fat, but also reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes by decreasing the belly fat that heightens these risks. “As a general rule, you can’t target weight loss to specific body regions,” said professor of nutrition at Penn State, Penny M. Kris-Etherton. “But, monounsaturated fatty acids seem to specifically target abdominal fat.”
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To come to this finding, researchers from the university tested five different vegetable oils (including corn, safflower, flax, and three types of canola: conventional canola, high-oleic acid canola and high-oleic acid canola with DHA, a type of omega 3-fatty acid) in the diets of 101 subjects who all had abdominal obesity or increased waist size. The participants were randomly assigned to drink two smoothies a day blended with one of the five oils; those who drank the smoothie with conventional canola oil or high-oleic acid canola oil lost a quarter pound of belly fat after just one month—here’s the kicker—without the fat redistributing elsewhere on the body.
Before you start taking shots of pure canola oil, take a tip from the professional. Kris-Etherton suggests incorporating canola oil when sautéing foods or baking, adding it to smoothies, and adding it into homemade salad dressings.
You should also be aware that not everyone is convinced of the findings. Celebrity nutritionist Cynthia Pasquella says that she’s shocked that people might be encouraged to eat canola oil because of this study. “Canola oil is manufactured using a harsh chemical solvent called hexane, an ingredient derived from petroleum. In addition, almost all canola oil sold today is genetically modified! A much better alternative would be hemp oil or coconut oil, which have been shown to have numerous health benefits.”
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