Health

Olive Oil Diet Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A study in the scientific journal Diabetes Care showed that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil reduces the risk of type II diabetes by almost 50 percent compared to a low fat diet.
May. 23, 2011
Elena Paravantes

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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 the 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.

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