Research Suggests Canola Oil May Help Reduce Belly Fat and Improve Metabolic Syndrome Faced by One in Five Canadian Adults

CanolaInfo Release

November 2, 2016 –  Research findings announced at ObesityWeek 2016 suggest canola oil and high-oleic canola oil can help decrease abdominal fat, which may improve metabolic syndrome.1 About 20 percent of adults in Canada have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions, including belly fat, that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“These results are likely due to the monounsaturated or ‘good’ fat that make up a large part of canola and high-oleic canola oil,” notes Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Penn State University, who oversaw the study. “This adds to the growing body of research that monounsaturated fat may help to decrease abdominal fat and improve markers of cardiovascular health as well.”

Researchers from three research centres, the University of Manitoba and Laval University in Canada, and Penn State University in the United States, conducted a clinical trial with 101 participants to compare the effects of five different types of oil on abdominal fat, including canola oil, high-oleic canola oil, high-oleic canola oil with DHA, a corn and safflower oil blend, and flax and safflower oil blend. The oils were consumed in smoothies twice a day as part of the participants’ daily diet. The subjects were randomized to a sequence of the five diets, which they followed for four weeks at a time with a period of four weeks in between each diet during which they followed their usual diet. All of the participants had central obesity and at least one additional risk factor for metabolic syndrome – high blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides or low “good” HDL cholesterol.

At the end of the two-year study, researchers saw a significant decrease in abdominal fat mass in those on the canola and high-oleic canola oil diets. In addition, they found a decrease in blood pressure linked to consumption of these oils.

The research was one of five studies selected for publication in a special section of the November 2016 Obesity journal to provide the latest insights into preventing and treating obesity through innovative research designs. The results of this study are part of the Canola Oil Multicentre Intervention Trial (COMIT) and were initially presented at the American Heart Association’s EPI/NPAM Scientific Sessions in New Orleans in 2013.

“We observed a reduction in abdominal fat that was related to a decrease in blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) for participants on the canola and high-oleic canola oil diets,” notes Peter Jones, Director of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals at the University of Manitoba. “We’ll often see an improvement in other markers of metabolic syndrome, like blood pressure, when abdominal fat is decreased. The results of this study suggest that using a monounsaturated fat-based oil, like canola oil, may have a positive impact on public health by helping to decrease risk for metabolic syndrome.”

Classic canola oil not only contains mostly monounsaturated fat (63g/100g fat), but it also has the least saturated fat (7g/100g fat) and most plant-based omega-3 fat (9g/100g fat) of any common cooking oil. High oleic canola oil has 73 grams monounsaturated fat per 100 grams fat and is widely used in restaurants, institutions and packaged food products.

For more information on the health benefits of canola oil, visit

CanolaInfo is the oil promotion program of the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). The CCC is a full value chain organization representing canola growers, 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. The CCC will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the annual Canola Council Convention, March 7-9, 2017 in Winnipeg, MB.

This study was funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canola Council of Canada, Dow AgroSciences, the Flax Council of Canada and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The trial is registered at NCT01351012.


Media may contact:
Crystal Klippenstein
Communications Program Manager
Canola Council of Canada


1 Liu X, Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Effects of canola and high-oleic acid canola oils on abdominal fat mass in individuals with central obesity. Obesity. 2016.


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