ADA: Canola oil can help control blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes

June 17, 2014

Unhydrogenated, unsaturated vegetable oils, such as canola oil, can have health advantages when included in as part of a low-glycemic index (GI) diet in people with type 2 diabetes, according to research presented at American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in San Francisco, and published in Diabetes Care.

Unhydrogenated, unsaturated vegetable oils, such as canola oil, can have health advantages when included in as part of a low-glycemic index (GI) diet in people with type 2 diabetes, according to research presented at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Scientific Sessions in San Francisco, and published in Diabetes Care.

“Use of canola oil enriched whole wheat bread-providing 31 g of Canola oil per day-in a low GI diet improved blood glucose control in type 2 diabetes assessed as HbA1c, and reduced blood lipids, notably LDL-C,” according to lead researcher David J.A. Jenkins, MD, PhD, 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.

In a multicenter, randomized controlled trial, Dr Jenkins and colleagues studied 141 participants with type 2 diabetes who were taking drugs to control blood glucose were randomized to either a low glycemic load diet, emphasizing canola oil (31 g/day), or a diet with a whole wheat emphasis. Participants were followed for 3 months on this parallel design study with body weight, blood pressure, and blood measures made at the beginning and the last month of the study. 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. 

“These changes would be expected to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease significantly,” Dr Jenkins said. “Manipulations which reduce coronary heart disease risk are particularly important in diabetes where the risk of cardiovascular disease is double for men and up to 4 times that seen in the non-diabetic population for women.”

“Formulary managers in hospitals and managed care companies may wish to continue the focus on plant foods in the diet and consider including canola oil in their diets not only for cooking purposes but more importantly as the cold oil in salad dressings, on boiled vegetables to increase palatability and on snack foods such as bruschetta in much the same situation as olive oil is used in Mediterranean cuisine,” said Dr Jenkins.

This is 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 (eg, monounsaturated and omega-3 fats) have been independently shown in other studies.