High-Fat Meal with Olive Oil Can Have Immediate Positive Effects

Salmon with Almond Crust

It is well known that the Mediterranean diet is considered heart-healthy due to its dietary components, particularly olive oil, and now according to Canadian researchers the effect can be immediate.

A new study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology showed that while a single junk food meal with mainly saturated fat can harm the arteries, a Mediterranean meal rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat from olive oil and fatty fish not only did not affect artery function, it even had a positive effect.

Researchers from the University of Montreal-affiliated ÉPIC Center of the Montreal Heart Institute set out to compare the effects of a junk food meal and a typical Mediterranean meal on the health of blood vessels. For the study 28 non-smoking men were given first a Mediterranean style meal composed of vegetables cooked in olive oil, almonds and salmon. For this meal, 51 percent of total calories came from fat mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

After a week the same group of men were given a “junk food” meal consisting of a sandwich made with sausage, an egg, and a slice of cheese, and three hash browns with 58 percent of total calories coming from fat, mainly saturated fat with no Omega-3 fatty acids. After the consumption of both meals the researchers conducted ultrasounds on the participants in order to assess the effect of the meals on endothelial function.

The results showed that after the junk food meal, the arteries dilated 26 percent less, meaning that there was limited blood flow. After the Mediterranean style meal, there was no reduction of dilation and the arteries functioned normally and had good blood flow. In fact, it appeared that participants with higher blood triglyceride levels seemed to benefit more from the Mediterranean meals. Artery dilation is a key characteristic of endothelial function and as the researchers noted in their study: poor endothelial function is one of the most significant precursors of atherosclerosis.

This study is significant because it shows that not all high fat meals and diets are detrimental to health. The Mediterranean diet, with its main source of fat coming from olive oil, can have long-term and short-term positive effects on health.

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This article was last updated November 22, 2014 - 4:41 PM (GMT-5)

  • OliveChirper

    This study doesn’t really show that a “High-Fat Meal with Olive Oil Can Have Immediate Positive Effect”. It shows only that a “High-Fat Meal with Olive Oil Can Avoid Some Bad Effects of a High-Fat Junk Food Meal.” And the study can’t isolate the effects of the olive oil vs. the many other components that differed between the two meals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joeguevara Joe Guevara

    This is quite a misleading article and skews the results a little bit (but is better than a lot of the other articles I’ve seen on the same study). I commented on some of those articles on my facebook page (www.facebook.com/KetoLiving) but the only primary difference between the 2 meals is the introduction of carbohydrates (the 3x Hash Browns) in the second meal.

    There is an abundance of research that has been prevalent in the scientific community that all fats (not just Olive Oil) is healthy for you, including the often-vilified Saturated Fats. Carbohydrates on the other hand is what is shown to cause a lot of the metabolic disorders that we see today. It still surprises me that the conclusion that a research team would take is that it’s the saturated fats that are causing the decrease in endothilial function and not the carbs…

  • Nomorehopeandchange

    BTW, eggs actually have omega-3 fatty acids. 

    This is study is such junk science…