American and Canadian researchers found that canola oil and high-oleic canola oils can lower abdominal fat when used in place of other selected oil blends. The study presented at the American Heart Association’s EPI/NPAM 2013 scientific sessions in New Orleans, compared five oils in a randomized, controlled trial with 121 participants. These oils included canola oil, high-oleic canola oil, flax/safflower blend, corn/safflower blend and high oleic enriched with an algal source of the omega-3 DHA. The results showed that those who consumed canola or high-oleic canola oils lowered their belly fat by 1.6 percent compared to those who consumed a flax/safflower oil blend.
It is not the first time that a diet rich monounsaturated fats has been related to lower risk of metabolic syndrome. Several scientific reviews have associated the Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil with lower risk of metabolic syndrome, noting that it was not due to only one component but to the whole eating pattern.
Knowing that olive oil has one of the highest percentages of monounsaturated fats among commonly used cooking oils (even canola), as well as being rich in several antioxidants and other protective components, it would make sense to include olive oil in such a study. Perhaps it was not included as this project was funded by the government of Canada, the Canola Council of Canada and Dow Agrosciences.