The oil of safflower is derived from the seeds of the safflower plant and is utilized as a flavoring agent in a variety of culinary dishes. As calorie-dense as it may be, clinical studies indicate that moderate consumption of safflower oil is effective in the reduction of belly fat. Prior to ingesting safflower oil, consult with your health-care adviser regarding diet or exercise recommendations for lowering belly fat.
According to MayoClinic.com, an excess amount of visceral fat, which is a type of fat that accumulates in the abdomen and between the spaces of the organs, may lead to health complications such as heart disease, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Safflower oil contains a compound known as phytosterols that may reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease and heart attack. A study published in the June 2002 edition of "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" discovered that phytosterols significantly reduce the amount of cholesterols humans absorb, thereby controlling the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Safflower oil contains omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, otherwise known as PUFAs. Although PUFAs are similar to saturated fats in terms of caloric value, they impact the health quite differently as they contain heart-healthy properties essential for lowering cholesterol levels. Furthermore, PUFAs reduce insulin resistance, which is associated with belly fat. Researchers from the Norel-Nature Nutricion in Barcelona, Spain conducted a study which tested the effects of various types of fatty acid profiles on poultry chicken. It was discovered that broiler chickens fed PUFAs exhibited lower levels of insulin and cholesterol.
Clinical studies indicate that unsaturated fats, such as safflower oil, may also reduce belly fat. Researchers from Ohio State University tested the effects of two different types of oil on obese postmenopausal women diagnosed with type II diabetes. While one group ingested 8 g of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, another group was instructed to ingest 8 g of safflower oil. The group that ingested the safflower oil showed the greatest reduction in belly fat, averaging between 2 and 4 lbs. of belly fat after a 16-week period. The study, published in the September 2009 edition of "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," discovered that safflower oil elevated the production of a hormone known as adiponectin, which is associated with fat metabolism.
Although safflower oil is associated with a reduction in belly fat, excessive consumption of fat, whether it be saturated or polyunsaturated, will lead to weight gain. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends a daily fat intake of between 20 and 35 percent of your total daily calories. To effectively reduce belly fat, you should consume a nutritious diet alongside regular physical activity.
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Comparison of CLA With Safflower Oil; Norris LE, et al.; September 2009
- Ohio State University; Two Dietary Oils, Two Sets of Benefits for Older Women With Diabetes; Emily Caldwell
- MayoClinic.com: Belly Fat
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-6 Fatty Acids
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Phytosterols Reduce Cholesterol Absorption; R.E. Ostlund Jr., et al.; June 2002
- "Poultry Science"; PUMAs Reduce Insulin in Broiler Chickens; N. Crespo, et al.; July 2003