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


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

Nov. 2, 2012
By Elena Paravantes

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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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