In people with type 2 diabetes
canola oil can help control blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, reveals study published
in Diabetes Care.
The study of Canadian adults with
type 2 diabetes shows that adding canola oil to the diet is a simple way of
helping control blood glucose and risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Diabetes affects about 3.3 million Canadians (9 percent) and 26 million
Americans (8.3 percent).
In the multicenter, randomized
controlled trial, 141 participants with type 2 diabetes who were taking drugs
to control blood glucose were given either a test or control diet for three
months. The test diet was low GI (minimizes fluctuations in blood glucose
levels) and higher in fat, including bread made with canola oil (31 grams of
oil per person per day). The control diet was healthy, low-fat and high-fiber,
emphasizing whole wheat foods. Results showed that those who consumed the
canola oil diet improved blood glucose control. Importantly, participants at
increased risk for adverse effects from type 2 diabetes, such as those with
high blood pressure, derived the greatest benefits.
"This study shows the
advantage of using canola oil in type 2 diabetes to improve both blood
cholesterol and blood glucose control by reducing the glycemic load (GI
multiplied by the amount of carbohydrate in the diet), especially in those at
highest risk of diabetes complications," says lead researcher David J.A. Jenkins, M.D., Ph.D., DSc., professor and
Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism, Department of Nutritional
Sciences, University of Toronto as well as director,
Risk Factor Modification Center, St. Michael's
Hospital. "These findings are timely since diabetes is expected to double
in the next 20 years and means of preventing it and its complications are major
concerns of governments and the general public."
Beyond its results, the
"Effect of Lowering the Glycemic Load with Canola Oil on Glycemic Control
and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Randomized Controlled Trial" is
important because it's the first study to assess the combination of healthy fat
consumption and a low-GI diet. The beneficial health effects of canola oil and
its fat components (e.g., monounsaturated and omega-3 fats) have been
independently shown in other studies.
In addition, even though study
participants were being treated with drugs to control blood glucose and had low
"bad" LDL cholesterol levels, canola oil consumption was associated
with a significant, additional reduction in this type of cholesterol. This may
translate into an extra 7 percent reduction in CVD events, Jenkins notes.
"The ability of canola oil
to help control blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes adds to existing
evidence of several health benefits, including CVD risk reduction," adds
Shaunda Durance-Tod, M.Sc., R.D., CanolaInfo manager, Canola
Council of Canada. "Further studies
are now warranted on the effect of canola oil in a Mediterranean-type diet on
glycemic control, blood fats and weight loss in type 2 diabetes."
The canola oil study was led by the University of Toronto in collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan, McMaster
University and University of Ottawa. It was
funded by the Government of Canada and Canola Council of Canada.