A study on mice by an Indian American researcher shows that genetically modified (GM) soybean oil is as unhealthy as conventional soybean oil. The study found that GM soybean oil too induces obesity, diabetes and fatty liver.
"The GM soybean oil has zero grams trans fat and more of the monounsaturated fats that are considered heart healthy," said lead researcher Poonamjot Deol of the University of California-Riverside.
"But it had not been tested for long term metabolic effects until our current study," Deol noted.
GM soybean oil, however, does not cause insulin resistance - the inability to efficiently use the hormone insulin.
The researchers compared the effects of both oils in experiments done in the lab on mice. Four groups of mice, each group comprising 12 mice, were given different diets for 24 weeks.
The control group received a low-fat diet (5 percent of daily calories from fat), while the other groups received a diet with 40 percent of daily calories from fat.
The fourth group had 41 percent of the saturated fat replaced with the GM soybean oil.
The mice fed a diet with either of the soybean oils had worse fatty liver, glucose intolerance and obesity than the group that got all their fat from coconut oil.
But the mice whose diet included the GM soybean oil had less fat tissue than the animals that ingested regular soybean oil.
"These results indicate that linoleic acid may contribute to insulin resistance and adiposity but that another as yet unidentified component of the soybean oil affects the liver and overall weight gain," Deol pointed out.
The study was presented at Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego.