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Which is healthier in foods for blood sugar levels: Canola or sesame seed oil?

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Dr. David Jenkins, head of the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center of St. Michael's Hospital, compared people with Type 2 diabetes who ate either a low glycemic index diet that included bread made with canola oil, or a whole wheat diet known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. But other studies say sesame seed oil also is good for type 2 diabetes. You also may wish to check out, "Research: Sesame oil delivers big benefits for type-2 diabetics."

In fact, a study ,"A Pilot Study of Open Label Sesame Oil in Hypertensive Diabetics," published September 27, 2006 in the Journal of Medicinal Food, explored the benefits of sesame oil for diabetics. The study was conducted on 40 people suffering from both diabetes and high blood pressure, all of whom were taking the blood pressure drugs atenolol and glibenclamide. The participants were assigned to switch to using sesame oil in their cooking for 45 days, then to switch to palm or peanut oils for another 45 days. You also may wish to see another study, "Sesame oil exhibits synergistic effect with anti-diabetic medication in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus."

There are numerous studies on sesame seed oil for type 2 diabetes and/or hypertension. Sesame oil exhibited synergistic effect with glibenclamide and can provide a safe and effective option for the drug combination that may be very useful in clinical practice for the effective improvement of hyperglycemia, concluded the study, "Sesame oil exhibits synergistic effect with anti-diabetic medication in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus," published online November 29, 2010. There are other studies on how various oils affect the body such as, "Effects of lipid emulsions on lipid body formation and eicosanoid production by human peripheral blood mononuclear and polymorphonuclear cells."

This study investigated the influence of four commercial lipid emulsions, Ivelip, ClinOleic, Omegaven and SMOFlipid®, on lipid body formation, fatty acid composition and eicosanoid production by cultured human peripheral blood polymorphonuclear cells (PMN) and mononuclear cells (PBMC). You also may wish to see the June 2011 study or its abstract, "Sesame oil exhibits synergistic effect with anti-diabetic medication in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus."

Many restaurants and processed foods use canola oil because it costs less than sesame seed oil

Salad dressings, commercial hummus, and other processed foods may use canola oil instead of sesame seed oil or olive oil because it's cheaper and lasts longer on the shelf. But at home, you can use any oil you want. Check out the sites, "Stop Using Canola Oil Immediately » DrAxe.com" and "Canola oil: The #1 hidden health 'danger' at the prepared food bar." On the other hand, the Mayo Clinic's article, "Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?" says health concerns about canola oil are unfounded. Canola oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the canola plant, is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

Misinformation about canola oil may stem from the fact that the canola plant was developed through crossbreeding with the rapeseed plant

Rapeseed oil contains very high levels of erucic acid, a compound that in large amounts can be toxic to humans. Canola oil, however, contains very low levels of erucic acid. But just because a health professional says it's safe or the FDA says it's safe, doesn't tell you how a specific oil reacts with your particular metabolic, chemical, and genetic makeup. You have to research the facts and decide for yourself what is the best fit oil for your needs.

In the 2006 study, researchers found that while cooking with sesame oil, "systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased remarkably. When oil substitution was withdrawn, blood pressure values rose again." While cooking with sesame oil, patients also experienced significant decreases in weight, body mass index, and waist and hip girth. Their levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol and LDL ("bad") cholesterol all decreased.

The new research suggests benefits of canola oil for people with Type 2 diabetes, for example, those on canola bread diet saw both a reduction in blood glucose levels and significant reduction in LDL cholesterol

Does a red light flash when you read whole wheat bread, which raises the blood glucose level is compared to bread made with canola oil, bread that you need to know what kind of grain was used with the oil? See, "High Blood Sugar Reading From Eating 100% Wheat Bread" and "7 Foods That Spike Blood Sugar - Everyday Health." Or check out, "Three Hidden Ways Wheat Makes You Fat - Dr. Mark Hyman." You also may wish to see the article, "Wheat: The Unhealthy Whole Grain – Life Extension."

Canola is Canada's oil and new research from St. Michael's Hospital suggests it should also be one of the oils of choice for people with Type 2 diabetes

Dr. David Jenkins, head of the hospital's Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center, compared people with Type 2 diabetes who ate either a low glycemic index diet that included bread made with canola oil, or a whole wheat diet known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

His study, "Effect of Lowering the Glycemic Load With Canola Oil on Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Randomized Controlled Trial," published online Saturday, June 14, 2014 in the journal Diabetes Care, found that those on the canola bread diet experienced both a reduction in blood glucose levels and a significant reduction in LDL, or "bad," cholesterol.

The canola or the whole wheat bread diet?

Even more exciting, he said, was the finding that the canola bread diet seemed to have the most significant impact on people who needed help the most – those whose HbA1c test measuring blood glucose over the previous two or three months was highest. The conclusions of the study, notes the abstract, found that a canola oil–enriched low-GL diet improved glycemic control in type 2 diabetes, particularly in participants with raised SBP, whereas whole grains improved vascular reactivity.

The study's objective, explains the abstract, notes that despite their independent cardiovascular disease (CVD) advantages, effects of α-linolenic acid (ALA), monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), and low-glycemic-load (GL) diets have not been assessed in combination. Researchers therefore determined the combined effect of ALA, MUFA, and low GL on glycemic control and CVD risk factors in type 2 diabetes.

According to the June 14, 2014 news release, "Research suggests benefits of canola oil for people with Type 2 diabetes," Dr. Jenkins, who is a professor of both nutritional sciences and medicine at the University of Toronto, said the reduction in LDL cholesterol observed in his study of 141 people could translate into a 7 per cent reduction in cardiovascular events. He said the benefit could also be translated into an additional 20mg dose of one of the cholesterol-reducing drugs known as statins—a doubling of a standard dose.

Dr. Jenkins said, according to the news release, that "Despite their independent cardiovascular disease (CVD) advantages, effects of α-linolenic acid (ALA), monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), and low-glycemic-load (GL) diets have not been assessed in combination. We therefore determined the combined effect of ALA, MUFA, and low GL on glycemic control and CVD risk factors in type 2 diabetes."

Patients on the whole wheat diet seemed to have better blood flow after 12 weeks than those on the canola bread diet: Do whole wheat foods reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease?

Dr. Jenkins said another interesting finding of the study was that patients on the whole wheat diet seemed to have better blood flow after 12 weeks than those on the canola bread diet, as measured by the EndoPat test that uses a cuff on the arm similar to a blood pressure test.

He said the significance of that finding was not entirely clear, but this positive result may be an indication of why whole wheat foods have consistently been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Jenkins and his colleagues developed the concept of the glycemic index in the early 1980s as a way of explaining how different carbohydrates affect blood glucose and to find out which foods were best for people with diabetes

High GI foods—such as white bread, most breakfast cereals, potatoes and rice — produce a large rise in blood glucose and insulin, which may damage eyes, kidneys and heart. The carbohydrates in low GI foods—including pasta, beans, lentils, berries, apples and certain whole grains such as barley and oats –are broken down more slowly, so that people get more gentle raises in blood glucose and insulin and so get less tissue damage to eyes and kidneys, heart, brain, and arteries.

Other studies have linked low GI diets with a reduction in both diabetes and cardiovascular events, and have shown monounsaturated fats such as canola and olive oil reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Jenkins said the combination of a low GI diet supplemented with canola oil had not been tested before on people with Type 2 diabetes.

This research was funded by the Canola Council of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Loblaw Companies, and the Canada Research Chairs Program.

Where did the words "canola oil" originate?

The word canola is a contraction of Canada and ola, meaning oil. It has been said that canola oil was developed from rapeseed at the University of Manitoba in the 1970s. Canola oil contains only 7 per cent saturated fat, less than half that of olive oil. Vegetable oils that are low in saturated fat have been widely touted for their health benefits by some, whereas others have touted coconut oil, high in the type of (medium chain triglycerides) saturated fat by others, and also other people favor organic butter from grass-fed cows as a form of saturated fat.

For example, India commonly uses ghee, a clarified form of butter for cooking and also sesame seed oil. Now the question remains, which type of oil or fat do people need, or is the type of oil best fitted to the person's genes and metabolism or health response to a particular diet or food combination?

Whole wheat bread is high in sugar, higher than some candy bars and sugary sodas, and some scientists and physicians say two slices of whole wheat bread probably will raise your blood sugar levels as high as if you were eating some popular candy bars

There's a 'controversy' about the effects of whole grains. Some people can't eat any grains at all due to sensitivities, allergies, and Celiac disease -(celiac sprue). Others say whole grains help to rot some children's teeth. Still others ferment their whole grains, and some kids endure dental cavities just from eating whole grain cereals and sandwiches. What does the research note?

Physicians are writing articles in major consumer health publications saying that it's primarily whole wheat that creates havoc with blood glucose levels, perhaps being one more stressor behind the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics in all ages.

Let's take a look at what some physicians and scientists report on the 'dangers' of whole wheat

For example, two slices of whole wheat bread increase your blood sugar to a high level than sucrose--table sugar, according to the article, "Wheat: The Unhealthy Whole Grain," in the Oct. 2011 issue of Life Extension magazine, page 82.

Too much bread or cake can raise your risk of cataracts, diabetes, and rapid aging inside and out, say some scientists and physicians. Or see the YouTube video, "Wheat: The Unhealthy Whole Grain -Part 1."

In the Sacramento and Davis regional areas, researchers at the University of California, Davis study phytosterols in whole grains

For example, see the article, [PDF] Phytosterols lower cholesterol levels in a dose-dependent manner - UC Davis CHNR. Phytosterols are plant compounds that form the membranes of cells, a role similar to that of cholesterol in animals. Scientists research how and why plant phytosterols may help reduce cholesterol in humans and/or animals.

Why does it take the mainstream media so long after a new study to report health benefits? The answer to that question is that the media is looking for other scientists to speak up and say whether or not any given study is flawed.

When it comes to health, the University of California, Davis studies whole grains, including rice, and scientists around the nation are researching whether whole grains can keep your blood pressure in check. Sacramento and Davis scientists may sometimes jokingly tell people to eat like a horse, meaning eat your whole grain oats.

Check the Glycemic Index Before You Shop for Favorite Foods

Just check out how high whole wheat bread is in 'sugar' or on the Glycemic Index. See "The International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2002;76(1):5-56. See the sites, Full Text - American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Dietary glycemic index and load and risk of type 2 diabetes in older adults.

It's truly shocking. According to the Life Extension article, eating two slices of whole wheat bread is worse than drinking a can of sugar-sweetened soda or eating a sugary candy bar. The original 1981 study at the University of Toronto found that the Glycemic Index of white bread was 69 and whole-grain bread was 72. Wheat cereal was 67, but table sugar (sucrose) was only 52. That means the Glycemic Index of whole grain bread is higher than that of table sugar, which is also known as sucrose.

Glycemic Index

In fact the Glycemic Index of a Mars Bar nougat, chocolate, is just 68. The Glycemic index of a Snickers bar is just 41. All those values are less than whole grain bread, especially whole wheat bread. But what you do get with the whole grain bread besides the sugar spike is some fiber that you don't get with the candy bar or the sugary soda beverage.

On another Glycemic Index chart, a Mars Bar, medium is listed at 64. It's listed under the category, "Snack Food and Sweets." But on that web site which also is about the South Beach diet, whole grain bread is listed as low on the Glycemic Index at 50, and white bread is listed high on the Glycemic Index at 71, with whole rye flour bread listed as medium at 64.

Rice cakes are listed as high on the Glycemic Index at 77, and Whole Meal Bread (not whole grain bread) is listed as medium at 69 on the Glycemic Index. But you have to remember that that Index is on the South Beach Diet Plan website. And you'd have to check out other Glycemic Index listings to see whether any match. The Glycemic Index listings seem to be different at various websites, but why, are various brands being tested or listed?

Or are various candy brands different, but the Glycemic Index, itself, remains steady. It's just that one manufacturer may make different types of candy bars under the same brand name. For example, Glycemic Index of a Mars Bar nougat, chocolate, is listed as just 68 in the Life Extension Magazine article, Oct. 2011.

Is Whole Wheat the Culprit, According to Studies In Wheat's Ability to Cause Your Body to Make More Insulin?

So, wheat seems to be the worse, according to the studies, in assaulting your body in its ability to keep making insulin. Could this be part of the cause of the diabetes and obesity epidemic in the USA and in other countries, and especially among young people? And do you fight carbs with other carbs? Or is any food high on the Glycemic Index also causing your body to secrete more insulin, aging your organs and arteries faster as your body seeks to lower the glucose levels to what's supposed to be 'normal'?

You want to watch out for advanced glycation end products called AGEs, which stiffens arteries and may lead to cataracts, clouded lenses of the eyes. See the sites, Glycemic Index Food Chart. and Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods - Harvard Health.

Check out the study, "Glycemic Index of Foods: a physiological basis for carbohydrate exchange," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1981 Mar; 34 (3):362-6. Also see, Glycemic index of foods: a physiological basis for carbohydrate exchange.

Or read the article in the Oct 2011 issue of Life Extension magazine, "Wheat, the unhealthy whole grain," in the Oct. 2011 issue of Life Extension Magazine, page 82. Usually, it's online the following month it came out in print.

Do Whole Grains Improve Blood Pressure? Studies on whole grains and the health benefits of phytosterols

Read the published scientific study, Pins JJ, et al. "Do Whole Grain oat cereals reduce the need for antihypertensive medications and improve blood pressure control? Journal of Family Practice 51: 353-359, 2002.

For example, it took three months after a new July 2009 study on the health benefits of whole grains, especially bran in whole grains, and how whole grains help to lower hypertension, had been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition before the mainstream media (Reuters) reported it October 7, 2009.

The Whole Grain Stamp now appears on over 3000 products in 14 countries, according to the body that issues the Stamp, the Whole Grains Council. Also see the October 10, 2009 Windsor Star article, "Whole grains may help keep blood pressure in check."

The most recent USA nutrition guidelines recommend that people get at least 3 ounces, or 85 grams, of whole grains daily, and that they consume at least half of their grains as whole grains, according to the recent Reuters article of October 7, 2009, "Whole Grains May Keep Blood Pressure in Check."

"There's evidence, the investigators note, that women who eat more whole grains are less likely to develop high blood pressure, also called hypertension, but there is less information on how whole grains might affect men's heart health," according to the Reuters article, based on a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating lots of whole grains could ward off high blood pressure, according to that study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. You can read the abstract of the actual study in the July 1, 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 90: 493-498, 2009, doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27460.

The title of the research is, "Whole grains and incident hypertension in men." Although the study had been performed with only men, women can benefit also, provided that you don't have sensitivities to whole grains such as celiac disease. It doesn't matter which whole grains you eat so much. You could substitute quinoa or amaranth, oats, brown rice, or rye for wheat because wheat in some people causes a rise in insulin. But what did the study actually find?

According to the study, men with the highest whole-grain consumption were 19 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than men who ate the least amount of whole grains. But you need to know something about how to prepare whole grains so that you don't get the phytates in grain.

Whole grains contain phytic acid in the bran of the grain

Phytic acid combines with key minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc and prevents their absorption in the intestinal tract, according to the article, "The Two Stage Process: A Preparation Method Maximizing the Nutritional Value of Whole Grains." But you need some phytic acid to balance your diet and health ratios.

According to Introduction to Whole Foods, page two, "Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking will neutralize the phytic acid, releasing nutrients for absorption. This process allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to not only neutralize the phytic acid, but also to break down complex starches, irritating tannins and difficult-to-digest proteins including gluten. For many, this may lessen their sensitivity or allergic reactions to particular grains."

Should you soak your whole grains overnight in the refrigerator?

The healthier way to prepare whole grains, according to the article, " is to soak the whole grains or whole grain flour in an acid medium such as buttermilk, yogurt, or other cultured milk, or in water with whey, lemon juice or vinegar added. As little as 7 hours soaking will neutralize a large portion of the phytic acid in grains. Twelve to 24 hours is even better with 24 hours yielding the best results."

Basically, you can soak grains overnight in a covered jar of filtered water in your refrigerator. The grains will become soft. I soak my grains two days. The whole buckwheat becomes soft enough to eat for breakfast without cooking with heat. Just put some cherries and blueberries or dried fruit such as raisins on top of it, add a handful of chopped nuts or hulled sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, and you have a great breakfast cereal, as long as you're not sensitive to the nuts and seeds or the particular grains. Buckwheat isn't the same grain as regular whole wheat.

Usually, there's an alternative whole grain you can tolerate, with some exceptions for persons with various sensitivities or those with celiac disease who must eat gluten-free foods. Then choose the gluten-free substitutes.

Brown rice, buckwheat and millet are more easily digested because they contain lower amounts of phytates than other grains, so they may be soaked for the shorter times. According to Introduction to Whole Foods, other grains, particularly oats, "the highest in phytates of the whole grains, is best soaked up to 24 hours."

The article reports that there are two other advantages of the two-stage process. "Several hours of soaking serves to soften the grain, resulting in baked goods lighter in texture, closer to the texture of white flour. The longer the soaking, the less necessary is the baking powder. Baking soda, alone, will give enough rise. Secondly, this is a great step in convenience, dividing the task into two shorter time periods, cutting the time needed to prepare the recipe right before cooking and baking when you feel rushed to get food on the table."

The difference between whole grains and refined grains is that refining takes off the grain's outer coating. But whole grains are left with the rich nutrients, bran and germ

If you want to make soaking grains simple and basic, just soak what you want to eat overnight in a covered jar of water in your refrigerator. The grains will do a little fermenting, and that's the result you want.

Science research teams often look at the The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study on various topics. The Follow-Up Study explores men's health issues, relating nutritional factors to the incidence of serious illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, and other vascular diseases. This all-male study is designed to complement the all-female Nurses' Health Study, which examines similar hypotheses.

For further information, see the Harvard Science article, "Eating whole grain cereals may help men lower heart failure risk." In the recent American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, the research team first looked at data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which has followed 51,529 men since 1986, when the study participants were 40 to 75 years old.

Researchers viewed a subset of 31,684 men free of hypertension, cancer, stroke or heart disease at the study's outset. During 18 years of follow-up, 9,227 of them developed hypertension. Men in the top fifth of whole grain consumption, that averaged about 52 grams of whole grains daily, were 19 percent less likely than the men in the bottom fifth, who ate an average of about 3 grams of whole grains daily, to develop hypertension during follow-up.

What Did the Separate Components of Whole Grains Reveal?

When the researchers looked at separate components of whole grains, only bran showed an independent relationship with hypertension risk, with men who consumed the most at 15 percent lower risk of hypertension than men who ate the least. However, the researchers note, the amount of bran in the men's diet was relatively small compared to their total intake of whole grain and cereal fiber. See the article, "Bran, whole grains may fight high blood pressure in men."

According to the HealthDay News article, "Whole grains as a part of a prudent, balanced diet may help promote cardiovascular health," the lead researcher and project director at Harvard School of Public Health of the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, Dr. Alan J. Flint explained to the media. The latest analysis followed up previous studies that's why it's called a Follow-Up study. "Higher intake of whole grains was associated with a lower risk of hypertension in our cohort of over 31,000 men," Flint told the press.

The relationship between whole grain intake and reduced hypertension risk remained even after accounting for the male participants' fruit and vegetable intake, use of vitamins, amount of physical activity, and whether or not they were screened for high blood pressure

This suggests that the association was independent of these markers of a healthy lifestyle behavior pattern. It's possible, the researchers say, that the men that ate more whole grains gained less weight over time. The current findings, Flint and colleagues explained, "have implications for future dietary guidelines and for the prevention of hypertension."

This is not a new idea. The most recent scientific studies help to lend credibility and validity to the claims and to studies using fewer people. For years, books have touted the health benefits of whole grains. In the 2008 book, The Cholesterol Hoax, Dr. Sherry A Rogers notes on page 181, "Whole grains are actually much higher in antioxidants than fruits and vegetables."

The section, "They Forgot the Whole Grains," explains the research regarding whole grains and the effect of whole grains on reducing heart disease risk, "Folks who have diets containing daily whole grains have 26% less heart disease, 36% fewer strokes, and a 43% lower cancer rate. In another study of 88 folks with high blood pressure, 73% of those who had two meals of whole grains a day dropped their blood pressure medications in half in addition to dropping their cholesterol and blood sugars (Pins, Jones)." Read the published scientific study, Pins JJ, et al. "Do Whole Grain oat cereals reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medications and improve blood pressure control? Journal of Family Practice 51: 353-359, 2002. Whole grains or sprouted whole grains in a jar such as whole oat groats, quinoa, or amaranth are different from just buying a highly processed loaf of bread in a food market that's marked "whole wheat" or "whole grains and colored darker with caramel coloring."

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