Partnerships in Mexico highlight health virtues of Canadian canola oil

In recognition of World Diabetes Day 2014, CanolaInfo and the Mexican Diabetes Federation (Federacion Mexicana de Diabetes or FMD) joined efforts to inform people about the importance of consuming a daily, healthy breakfast and the right types of fat to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). People with diabetes are especially at risk for this disease.

“Partnerships with organizations such as FMD play an important role in building markets for Canadian canola by promoting the virtues of canola oil with consumers,” says Bruce Jowett, VP Market Development with the Canola Council of Canada. “CVD and diabetes are primary health concerns among the Mexican population and we are working to raise awareness that canola oil is a heart-healthy fat that can help reduce these risks.”

Jowett noted that a recent Mexican consumer study revealed that awareness of canola oil has reached 40 percent – up from 9 percent just two years ago. “We are pleased with the results so far and are continuing to align with the health and nutrition community to engage consumers in key export markets,” says Jowett.

As part of the 2014 World Diabetes Day campaign, FMD nutritionists are joining the International Diabetes Federation in saying breakfast is the most important meal of the day. “Correct eating begins with breakfast,” both organizations say, and a healthy lifestyle should also include a daily exercise routine of 30 to 60 minutes.

Debby Braun, consulting dietitian to the Mexican Olympic Committee, added that choosing the right types of fat is essential to have a balanced and healthy diet. In Mexico, the use of cooking oil is frequent in homes and restaurants, so it’s important to choose a healthy type of oil.

“The number of people with cardiovascular disease is on the rise, but we can help protect our hearts with simple changes such as replacing saturated fat found in butter and lard with healthy vegetable oils like canola oil that contain mono- and polyunsaturated fats,” Braun said. “These oils can help reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.”

Braun noted that canola oil has the least saturated fat – only 7 percent – of all common cooking oils. It is also a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which are considered “essential” because the body cannot produce them on its own. Canola oil contains vitamins E and K as well. 

Scientific studies have shown that canola oil can help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes on a low-glycemic index diet as well as reduce abdominal fat in people at risk of pre-diabetes. Other studies have shown that as little as 1.5 tablespoons of canola oil per day in place of saturated fat can help reduce the risk of heart disease. As a result, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized in 2006 a qualified health claim for canola oil related to this benefit. 

“Using canola oil is a simple way to help protect the heart for only a few cents a day,” Braun concluded. “It is an economic option to prepare dishes with great flavor while contributing to a healthy diet. Look for vegetable oil labels that say ‘100 percent canola oil’ to make a healthy purchase for the heart.” 

CanolaInfo is the oil promotion program of the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). The CCC is a full value chain organization representing canola growers, value added processors, life science companies and exporters. Keep it Coming 2025 is the strategic plan to ensure the canola industry’s continued growth, demand, stability and success –  achieving 52 bushels per acre to meet global market demand of 26 million metric tonnes by the year 2025. 

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Heidi Rubeniuk, Director, Communications



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