Health

Olive Oil Diet Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

May. 23, 2011
By Elena Paravantes

Recent News

Traditionally a low fat diet has been pre­scribed to pre­vent var­i­ous dis­eases such as heart dis­ease and dia­betes. While stud­ies have shown that high fat diets may increase the risk of cer­tain dis­eases such as cancer and dia­betes, it appears that it is the type of fat that counts rather than the amount of fat. We now know that a diet rich in monoun­sat­u­rated fats such as the ones found in olive oil, nuts and seeds actu­ally pro­tects from many of these chronic dis­eases.

A recent Spanish study pub­lished in the sci­en­tific jour­nal Diabetes Care showed that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reduces the risk of type II dia­betes by almost 50 per­cent com­pared to a low fat diet. Type II dia­betes is the most common and pre­ventable form of dia­betes.
See more: Olive Oil Health Benefits
Individuals who are obese or over­weight and have meta­bolic syn­drome are at high­est risk for devel­op­ing this form of dia­betes. The study is part of PREDIMED, a long-term nutri­tional inter­ven­tion study aimed to assess the effi­cacy of the Mediterranean diet in the pri­mary pre­ven­tion of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases, and is com­posed of a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary team of 16 groups dis­trib­uted in 7 autonomous com­mu­ni­ties in Spain.

The study included 418 par­tic­i­pants who did not have dia­betes. Each par­tic­i­pant was ran­domly assigned to either a low fat diet, a Mediterranean diet with olive oil (up to 1 liter a week) or a Mediterranean diet with nuts (30 grams a day). After 4 years 17.9 per­cent of the indi­vid­u­als fol­low­ing the low fat diet devel­oped dia­betes, while only 10 per­cent of the par­tic­i­pants fol­low­ing the Mediterranean with olive oil diet devel­oped the dis­ease.

When the two MedDiet groups (olive oil and nut groups) were pooled and com­pared with the low fat group, dia­betes inci­dence was reduced by 52 per­cent. It is impor­tant to note that the reduc­tion of dia­betes risk was inde­pen­dent of changes in body weight or phys­i­cal activ­ity and that the Mediterranean diets that were fol­lowed were not calo­rie restricted.

Previous stud­ies have shown that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil may pre­vent the appear­ance of type II dia­betes by improv­ing blood sugar levels, insulin resis­tance and blood lipid levels.