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ADA: Canola Oil Reduces Heart Risk in Diabetes

Adding canola oil to the diet improved glycemic control and reduced cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetes. And in another study, an overall healthier diet reduced risk of developing diabetes….

David J.A. Jenkins, MD, PhD, ScD, of the University of Toronto, and colleagues found in a randomized trial that, an extra ounce of the vegetable oil daily, incorporated into bread, cut hemoglobin A1c by 0.47% compared with a 0.31% decline on a control diet emphasizing whole grains (P=0.002),

Framingham risk score for cardiovascular disease dropped across the 12-week trial in both groups, but by 0.6 percentage points more from the baseline 10% risk with the canola diet than with the control (P=0.008), they reported at the American Diabetes Association meeting and simultaneously online in Diabetes Care.

In a second trial reported at the meeting, improving diet quality score by 10 points on a 110-point summary scale — assessing fruit, vegetable, nuts, polyunsaturated fat, and other factors — over 4 years was associated with a 9% lower risk of diabetes incidence over the next 4 years (95% CI 0.84-0.99).

Sylvia Ley, PhD, RD, of the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues found in a pooled trial analysis that, the same degree of decrease in diet quality was associated with an 18% increase in risk (95% CI 1.08-1.30), independent of changes in weight, physical activity, and caloric intake and other factors,

That study included the Nurses’ Health Study I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, for a total of 148,479 participants without baseline diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer.

Notably, the relationship with diabetes incidence held across groups with baseline high, low, and intermediate diet quality assessed by the Alternative Healthy Eating Index score.

Melinda Maryniuk, RD, director of clinical education programs at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, commented that, "Here is evidence that spending a little bit of time with your patient to make sure that they work toward clarity on what healthy food choices are does make a difference."

"Canola oil and other oils can also be put into this particular envelope of nutrients — foods that, I think, displace foods which are not so healthy, the saturated fat foods, the animal products, and the highly refined carbohydrates," Jenkins said. "It could be a cheaper option," he noted.

Practice Pearls:
  • Improving overall diet quality over a 4-year period, independent of increased physical activity and body weight loss, was associated with reduced risk of diabetes in healthy adults.
  • Note that one of the studies was published as an abstract and presented at the
    ADA conference. Those data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Ley SH, et al "Changes in overall diet quality, lifestyle, and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes: Three cohorts of U.S. Men and women" ADA 2014; Abstract 74-OR.