Study suggests two dietary oils may lower body fat in older women with diabetes

7/8/2009

NEW YORK According to a recent study, safflower oil and conjugated linoleic acid may lower body fat in obese postmenopausal women with Type 2 diabetes.

Safflower oil, a common cooking oil, and CLA, a compound naturally found in some meat and dairy products, both consist of primarily polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are considered “good fats” that, when consumed in proper quantities, may promote a variety of health benefits.

All 35 participants were female, younger than 70 years old, obese, postmenopausal and had Type 2 diabetes but did not need to take insulin for the study. Researchers asked that the women consume approximately one and two-thirds teaspoons of either oil daily for a 16-week period. 

The safflower oil supplements reduced trunk fat, lowered blood sugar and increased muscle tissue; while the CLA supplements reduced total body fat and lowered participant’s body mass index. 

“Essentially what we’re trying to understand with nutrition is how dietary approaches can complement Westernized medicine,” said Martha Belury professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University and senior author of the study. “In an ideal world, we’d love it if women like those in our study could use diet, activity and other aspects of a healthy lifestyle to manage their health. But most will probably be on oral medications for the rest of their lives for managing their diabetes and metabolism, which is fine as long as the medications work. We think there’s a chance that nutrition can complement medication and help drugs work even better.” 

Further research is necessary to determine the long-term safety of any kind of supplementation that lowers body fat. Research can be found online and will be published in an upcoming edition of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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