Safflower Oil For Weight Loss – Is it Just a Placebo Effect?

What is Safflower?

Safflower is a plant indigenous to India, North Africa and Iran. It usually grows to be about 1 meter (3 feet) tall. The flower is crowned by a globular flower head which is usually either yellow, red or orange. This plant has well-developed taproots which make it easy for the plant to find water even when growing in dry climates.

How is safflower used?

Safflower-weight-lossSafflower is traditionally  harvested for its seeds which are then used to make dyes, medicines and for the flavoring of food products. At one time, safflower was primarily used as a dye for silk and cotton products. In some places, safflower is used in cooking as a replacement for saffron. Because of its color, it gives rice the usual orange that is normally derived from saffron.

Other cultures such as the Indian culture also use safflower to treat a variety of other ailments such as menstrual problems, cardiovascular disease, swelling, treating high blood pressure and treating pain. It is also commonly given to address problems caused by sciatica, concussion, acne and sterility.

Safflower is also grown so that its oil can be extracted from the seeds.

What is safflower oil? How is it Extracted? Ingredients?

Safflower oil is flavorless and colorless oil which is derived from safflower seeds. This is a very stable oil which does not change even when heated to very high temperatures. Safflower oil is known for having the highest level of polyunsaturated and saturated ratios of all the other oils available today. It has nutritional levels which are similar to those found in olive oil but is much less expensive than olive oil, hence it becomes a reasonable substitution for olive oil. It is rich in omega 6 fatty acids, oleic acid as well as vitamin E.

Safflower oil can be extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant through either mechanical processes or chemical processes.  When this process is accomplished via mechanical means, it is down via something called a natural expeller. By utilizing a natural expeller, all the natural ingredients of the safflower oil are preserved. When the chemical method is used to extract the safflower oil, a great deal of contamination can occur which harms the end product, the oil. This is why it is a good reason to always closely inspect the labeling of any safflower product you may wish to purchase.

How is safflower oil used?

safflower-oil-for-belly-fatSafflower oil is traditionally used in paint products, alkyd resins, cosmetics and cooking oils. This oil is considered to be hypoallergenic which is one of the main reasons it is used so commonly in the production of cosmetics. Because it is so rich in oleic acid, it is used in cooking oils  because it helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.

What are the benefits of safflower oil?

Choosing safflower oil offers many potential health benefits especially for people who suffer from cardiovascular issues or Type II diabetes. Because it is high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats it has the potential to lower bad cholesterol. Other scientific studies have indicated that the high levels of linoleic acid found in safflower oil  activates brown fat which aids in the weight loss process. This is because once safflower oil is ingested the body changes the linoleic acid into something called gamma linoleic acid which acts as a fat burner.

What conclusions can be drawn from this information?

The different scientific studies which have been conducted on safflower oil clearly point to the prevention of cardiovascular disease when using safflower oil. This benefit is derived from using as little as 1 ⅔ teaspoons of safflower oil a day.

Despite the fact that safflower oil was promoted by Dr. Mehmet Oz on his television show, some skeptics see the benefits of safflower oil as purely a placebo effect. These skeptics claim that there has not been enough scientific research conducted on the humble safflower plant to reach conclusions about whether or not it will help a person lose weight. This lack of scientific research has not stopped the craze for safflower oil around the world. Many people believe that consuming small amounts of this oil every day will be the answer to their prayers when it comes to weight loss. Though there is some anecdotal evidence that using safflower oil can help a person lose visceral fat, again, this effect has not been conclusively studied or proven to exist. Still it is worth a try to see if it will have any effect on your weight loss process. The issue that is certain is that it will not harm you in any way.

There is no question that eating healthy fats is good for you. Me? I’m not convinced about safflower oil. I’m not yet ready to relinquish my bottles of olive oil that live in my kitchen cupboards. I’ll wait for the conclusive scientific evidence that says this is indeed a bona fide replacement for something we already know works: olive oil.