Researchers in Canada have published findings of a study that indicates that a certain blend of tropical oils helps overweight men lose weight and lower their cholesterol levels.

The functional oil is a blend of tropical oils such as coconut and palm oils, along with flaxseed oil and olive oil. It has been produced by Canadian biopharmaceutical company Forbes Medi-Tech, which funded the study along with Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Professor Peter Jones of the McGill School of Dietetics in Montreal found that the male participants lost an average of one pound in the course of a 27-day trial. There was no similar good news for female volunteers however - they failed to lose weight.

All participants were around 25 pounds overweight when they began the experiment. They ate what is considered to be a 'normal' North American diet, including items such as French toast with maple syrup and yoghurt as well as celery and carrots.

The oil is composed of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) rather than long chain triglycerides (LCT). Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body.

Jones said the oil works by directing the fat it contains towards the liver, where it is burned as energy, rather than being stored in the body as fat. This way it speeds up metabolism, a key tool in the fat fighter's armoury. He also hinted at "provocative data suggesting that oils rich in MCT reduce appetite".

The test results indicate that regular consumption of the oil could lower cholesterol by as much as 13%. This compares favourably with olive oil, which is thought to reduce cholesterol by about 4.5% and is widely considered to be the best oil to help fight cholesterol.

The abstract of Professor Jones' paper can be viewed by clicking here.