Embarrassingly Bad Research: Canola Oil and Type 2 Diabetes

I’ve endeavored to keep my writings positive, adhering to the “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing” philosophy. I’ve made no secret that, despite the best intentions of some very intelligent and hard working researchers, the quality of health related research in the US generally ranges from poor to terrible. However, sometimes a research article is published that is so bad that it reaches the level of embarrassment. My hope is to use this as an example of just how bad health research can be, especially when industry sponsored, and despite being published in an allegedly peer-reviewed journal sponsored by a multi-million dollar a year 501(c)3.

Effect of Lowering the Glycemic Load With Canola Oil on Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Experimental group
    • given “4.5 slices of canola oil–enriched whole-wheat bread” daily
    • dietary advice which “emphasized low-GI foods, including legumes, barley, pasta, parboiled rice, and temperate-climate fruit…”
  • Control group:
    • given “7.5 slices of whole-wheat bread” daily
    • dietary advice with instructions “to avoid white-flour products and replace them with whole-wheat breakfast cereals, study breads, brown rice, and so forth…”

And, unsurprisingly, the group which was given less sugar converting foods, and was instructed to eat less sugar converting foods, had a very slightly more reduced serum HbA1c (-0.31% in experimental group vs -0.25% in control group). I will assume that anyone who is literate will be able to immediately identify the methodological flaws in this research design. Yet this is being published in the allegedly peer-reviewed journal Diabetes Care, which is published by the American Diabetes Association.

The following headlines have popped up so far “reporting” this “result”:

  • Canola oil lowers heart disease risk in patients with Type 2 diabetes
  • Canola Oil can be Beneficial for Diabetics
  • Canola oil holds promise for people with type-2 diabetes
  • Canola oil could help manage diabetes better
  • ADA: Canola Oil Cuts Heart Risk in Diabetes
  • Canola Oil Helps Lower Glucose Levels in Type 2 Diabetes Patients
  • Canola oil has benefits for people with Type 2 diabetes
  • Canola Oil Linked to Improved Glucose Control in Type 2 Diabetes

Now for all I know all of these supposed “news” sites are bogus and I don’t care to research that at this time. Still, this is a good lesson on how industry funded research can be printed in an allegedly reputable journal in order to promote their product. It should stand as a warning that peer-reviewed by no means guarantees any semblance of quality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *