Diglyceride-Rich Foods May Promote Weight Loss
Obese men and women who consume foods high in diglycerides as part of a calorie-restricted diet may increase their chances of successful weight loss, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2002;76:1230–6). While other studies have shown that high fat consumption can lead to weight gain, the findings of this study show that some types of dietary fat may actually enhance weight loss and reduce body fat when used in conjunction with a low-calorie diet.
Obesity, a growing problem in Western cultures, is associated with many health risks, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, and some forms of cancer. More than 55% of all adults and 16% of all children in the United States are overweight or obese. Studies suggest that certain dietary factors may be important contributors to the rise in obesity, particularly saturated fat, trans-fatty acids, and simple carbohydrates (such as refined sugar).
In the study, 79 obese men and women from ages 19 to 75 were assigned to incorporate specific food products that contained high amounts of diglycerides (from rapeseed oil, also known as Canola oil) or triglycerides (from rapeseed, soybean, and safflower oils) in their diets for 24 weeks. All participants were put on a low-calorie diet that contained 30% to 35% of energy as fat, 45% to 50% of energy as carbohydrate, and 15% to 20% of energy as protein. Measurements of body weight, total fat mass, and abdominal fat were recorded initially and periodically throughout the study.
Body weight and total fat mass decreased significantly in the group consuming diglycerides by almost 4% and 8%, respectively, compared with those consuming triglycerides. A trend toward a drop in abdominal fat mass was observed in the diglyceride group but did not reach statistical significance. Although a decrease in body weight and total fat mass were observed in the group consuming triglycerides, the results were more significant in the diglyceride group. No significant side effects were reported in either treatment group.
Diglycerides and triglycerides are fats made from combining a glycerol molecule to long chain fatty acids. The difference between the two fats is the number of fatty acid chains bound to the glycerol, with diglycerides containing two fatty acid chains and triglycerides containing three. Diglycerides are natural components of edible oils that are found in low amounts in all vegetable oils. They are also used in small quantities in some foods as an emulsifier, such as mayonnaise and margarine. However, the amount of diglycerides in these foods is considerably less than the amount used in this study. Triglycerides are the most common form of fat found in food, especially vegetable oils, butter, whole milk, and most meat products. Enova, the specific product used in this study, will be available in the United States in January 2003 and is expected to be available in local grocery stores. Enova is a rapeseed oil product that is manufactured to contain high amounts of diglycerides that are not normally found in regular rapeseed oil.
Darin Ingels, ND, MT (ASCP), received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. Dr. Ingels is the author of The Natural Pharmacist: Lowering Cholesterol (Prima, 1999) and Natural Treatments for High Cholesterol (Prima, 2000). He currently is in private practice at New England Family Health Associates located in Southport, CT, where he specializes in environmental medicine and allergies. Dr. Ingels is a regular contributor to Healthnotes and Healthnotes Newswire.
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