Fighting Belly Fat: Which Oil Is Best?

By David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP Director, Yale University Prevention Research Center Director, Integrative Medicine Center at Griffin Hospital

Posted on | By David L. Katz MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP | Comments ()

Oil reduces friction and is the substance of choice for "greasing the skids" – both literal and figurative. So what could be more natural than using oil to grease the skids for weight loss? 

Thinking of this sort – along with a few small studies – may be what prompted the development of a product called SafSlim. The principal ingredient is safflower oil, and the contention is that safflower oil facilitates the mobilization of belly fat. 

Safflower oil is predominantly polyunsaturated. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) come in several varieties. As a class, they have generally been associated with favorable health effects. Omega-3 PUFAs, in which we tend to be deficient, are clearly beneficial for most of us. They have anti-inflammatory effects and tend to have favorable effects on body fat deposition.

However, safflower oil is not a source of omega-3s. It is, instead, a source of omega-6 PUFAs. These, too, are essential, but if anything, we tend to get more than we need from the oils used in processed foods. Most omega-6s have pro-inflammatory effects, and generally do not have the favorable associations with weight control that the omega-3s have. 

Article written by David L. Katz MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP
Director, Yale University Prevention Research CenterDirector, Integrative Medicine Center at Griffin Hospital