While the Mediterranean diet in general is known for its heart healthy qualities, more and more studies have shown that it may also be an ideal diet for prevention of diabetes.
In a new study, Italian researchers have found that a meal that included extra virgin olive oil resulted in lower levels of glucose levels after a meal, compared to a meal without olive oil. In addition, there were also lower increases of LDL cholesterol as well as oxidized LDL cholesterol.
For this study, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, the researchers chose 25 individuals to participate. The first part of the study compared a meal with or without extra virgin olive oil, while the second part compared a meal with extra virgin olive oil or with corn oil.
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The subjects were randomly assigned a Mediterranean-type meal with or without extra virgin olive oil and had blood samples taken before the meal and two hours after the meal.
After 30 days the second part was administered where olive oil and corn oil were compared.
The results showed that the addition of extra virgin olive oil did have a positive effect on blood glucose levels as well as LDL cholesterol levels.
When the olive oil meal was compared with the corn oil meal, the individuals that consumed the meal with the olive oil showed a significantly less increase of blood glucose, LDL cholesterol and oxidized LDL compared to the meal that included corn oil.
The researchers said it was the first study demonstrating that a Mediterranean-type meal supplemented with EVOO had a beneficial effect on post-prandial glycemic and lipid profile by decreasing blood glucose, LDL and oxidized LDL.
It is also important to note that not all vegetable or seed oils would have the same effect noted in the comparison.
The authors said further study was necessary to see whether extra virgin olive oil has such a beneficial effect in patients with diabetes or dyslipidemia.