SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Research findings announced at ObesityWeek 2016 suggest canola oil and high-oleic canola oil can help decrease abdominal fat, which may improve metabolic syndrome. 1 About 40 percent of adults in the United States have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions, including belly fat, that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. "These results are likely due to the monounsaturated or 'good' fat that make up a large part of canola and high-oleic canola oil," notes Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Penn State University who oversaw the study. "This adds to the growing body of research that monounsaturated fat may help to decrease abdominal fat and improve markers of cardiovascular health as well." Researchers from three research centers, the University of Manitoba and Laval University in Canada, and Penn State University in the United States, conducted a clinical trial with 101 participants to compare the effects of five different types of oil on abdominal fat, including canola oil, high-oleic canola oil, high-oleic canola oil with DHA, a corn and safflower oil blend, and flax and safflower oil blend. The oils were consumed in smoothies twice a day as part of the participants' daily diet. The subjects were randomized to a sequence of the five diets, which they followed for four weeks at a time with a period of four weeks in between each diet during which they followed their usual diet. All of the participants had central obesity and at least one additional risk factor for metabolic syndrome - high blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides or low "good" HDL cholesterol. At the end of the two-year study, researchers saw a significant decrease in abdominal fat mass in those on the canola and high-oleic canola oil diets. In addition, they found a decrease in blood pressure linked to consumption of these oils.