The Canadian Diabetes Association clinical practice guidelines recommend that, when consuming fats, people with diabetes should choose those that are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (for example, canola oil or olive oil) instead of saturated or trans fats.
A recent study supports the benefits of canola oil even further! Research conducted at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto suggests that canola oil should be the oil of choice for people with type 2 diabetes. (Canola oil was developed right here in Canada by agricultural scientists at the University of Manitoba.)
The researchers at St. Michael’s Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre studied 141 people with type 2 diabetes: one group ate a low glycemic index diet that included bread made with canola oil; the other group ate a whole wheat diet known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
(The glycemic index is a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how much they cause blood sugar levels to rise. High glycemic index foods include such starches as white bread and potatoes, and cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly. Low glycemic index foods, such as lentils, soybeans and high-fibre grains, cause a more gradual increase in blood sugar.)
All of the study participants were taking medication to help lower their blood sugar levels. None of them reported smoking, drinking excessively, or having other illnesses such as heart disease or liver disease.
People in the canola oil group of the study were asked to supplement their diet with 4 slices of canola oil-enriched whole wheat bread each day and were told to focus on eating foods with a low glycemic index. Those in the comparison group were asked to eat 7 slices of whole wheat bread (without added canola oil) each day, and to avoid products made with white flour.
The study participants who consumed the canola bread diet had a reduction in blood glucose levels and a significant reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). More importantly, noted Dr. David Jenkins, the lead researcher, “The canola bread diet seemed to have the most significant impact on people who needed help the most – those whose A1C levels were the highest.”
The study was published recently in the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes Care.
If you liked this article you can find other healthy eating ideas in the Diabetes Diet section