Beyond that, the approach calls into question some very basic assumptions about the types of fat in our diet. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential to our health, though they have been demonized in some circles due to the relative lack of omega-3 fatty acids in Western-style diets. It is important to get an adequate amount of omega-6s, found primarily in vegetable oils, as well as omega-3s, coming mainly from cold-water fish.
But the truth of the matter is that omega-6s are already ingested in adequate, if not excessive, amounts by the majority of the population, yet we are experiencing an epidemic of excess weight and obesity. Why, then, would increasing omega-6 fat intake reduce our tendency to accumulate abdominal fat? It doesn’t make sense.
Research should make us question long-held assumptions – that’s one of the ways that medicine progresses. The experience that Montel Williams shared with us about his use of safflower oil is compelling and should be respected. In and of itself, however, that experience cannot be generalized to suggest that anyone else would have the same outcome.
The research results that prompted interest in the use of safflower oil to help lessen abdominal fat should raise interest and spur the completion of additional studies that include larger numbers and better comparisons for longer periods of time.
There may be promise here, but it’s way too early to jump on the safflower oil bandwagon and begin using it yourself.