Canola Oil Helps Fight Type 2 Diabetics: Study

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By Smitha Nambiar | July 17, 2014 3:18 PM EST

Canola oil, along with low- glycemic-load (low-GL) food (legumes, temperature-climate fruit, and barley), help lower blood sugar levels in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes, reveals a study published in the journal Diabetes Care. The type 2 diabetes can cause blindness, kidney failure and even cardiovascular complications.

According to a recent study by researchers at the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the Department of Medicine at U of T, canola oil, combined with low-GL foods (legumes, temperature-climate fruit, and barley) help lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetic patients, especially those who have high blood sugar. The study, headed by Dr. David Jenkins compared the effects of a canola oil-enriched low-GL diet to a diet rich in whole grains. The purpose was to see how a diet rich in canola oil and low-GL can help people suffering from type 2 diabetes. "We thought using canola oil might be a good way to hit the heart disease and the high glucose problem," said Jenkins.

As part of the research, 141 participants with type 2 diabetes were studied over a period of three months. The participants, who were already on blood sugar-lowering drugs, were divided into two groups. While one was asked to consume test diet, a diet rich in canola oil and low-GL foods, the other group had a control diet, rich in whole-wheat products such as cereals, whole-wheat bread and brown rice.

The test diet participants had to consume 500 kilocalories worth of canola oil-enriched bread every day, whereas the group on the control diet had to eat 500 kilocalories of whole wheat bread without canola oil. In order to understand the cardiovascular risk, levels of glycated hemoglobin - mostly hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a measure of blood sugar, were taken before, during, and after the dietary intervention.

Though detailed tests showed marked improvement in both groups, it was found that the test group, that consumed canola oil and low-GL foods showed 0.47 per cent reduction in HbA1c whereas participants in the control group showed a 0.31 per cent reduction in levels of HbA1c. Noticing the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol seen in the patients, the researchers concluded that canola oil consumption can decrease the likelihood of cardiovascular events by seven per cent.

Moreover, it was also found that the participants in the test groups, who had high blood pressure, and were at a higher risk for complications arising from diabetes, showed high level of reduction in HbA1c ( 0.62 per cent)  in comparison to the control diet group (0.21 per cent) . However, it was found that the control diet improved blood flow, indicating an improvement in cardiovascular health.

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