Diacylglycerol (Diglyceride) Cooking Oil Reduces Obesity


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Diacylglycerols (also known as diglycerides) are dietary fatty acids that are found, in small concentrations, in many vegetable-based cooking oils, including canola and soybean oils.  However, triacylglycerols, known more commonly as triglycerides, make up the vast majority of the fat content in vegetable-based cooking oils.  Triglycerides, which are the most common sources of dietary fat, are rapidly absorbed by the body and are easily converted into body fat.  (High levels of triglycerides in the blood have also been linked to obesity and cardiovascular disease.) 

Compared with triglyceride fats, diglycerides are more rapidly metabolized in the human body, and are less prone to being deposited as body fat.  In laboratory studies, dietary supplementation with diglyceride oil has been shown to reduce the accumulation of body fat in rats, and to improve overall fat energy metabolism.

A newly published clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition, further suggests a potential role for diglyceride oils in the prevention and treatment of obesity in humans.

In this study, 26 overweight women with elevated blood triglyceride levels participated in a “crossover” study of diglyceride oil dietary supplementation.  In the first phase of this study, these women volunteers were secretly randomized to receive either diglyceride-enriched vegetable oil (Enova oil, 40 grams per day) or an oil blend containing standard sunflower, safflower and rapeseed oils (40 grams per day, in a 1:1:1 ratio) for 28 days.  After a 4-week break, these patient volunteers were then switched (or “crossed over”) to the opposite dietary oil group for an additional 28 days.

In this study, diglyceride oil supplementation did not appear to alter overall energy metabolism, nor did it reduce blood levels of triglycerides.  However, the daily intake of diglyceride-enriched cooking oil did, indeed, significantly decrease the accumulation of body fat in these overweight women during the course of this small, brief clinical research study.

While switching to diglyceride-enriched cooking oil, alone, is unlikely to prevent or completely eliminate obesity, this vegetable-based fat source may have an important role to play as part of a lifestyle- and diet-based approach to maintaining a healthy weight. 

Now for some bad news related to diglyceride-enriched cooking oils.  Kao Corporation, the manufacturer of Enova oil (also sold as Econa oil), has recently suspended the sales of this product due to concerns about high levels of potentially carcinogenic glycidol fatty acid esters in this and other diglyceride-enriched products.  (These same fatty acid esters are also present in other vegetable-based cooking oils, but at much lower concentrations.)  Hopefully, though, Kao Corporation, or another manufacturer, will find a way to reduce the concentration of glycidol fatty acid esters in diglyceride-enriched food products, and these products will then return to the marketplace.   


To learn more about the critical roles of diet and weight control in the prevention of cancer, look for the publication of my new landmark book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” in the summer of this year.

Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author

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