Posted on Jan 20, 2014, 6 a.m.
Consuming a Mediterranean diet that is rich in extra virgin olive oil may be an effective way to protect people at high-risk for heart disease against diabetes.
Previously, a number of studies have shown that adherence to a Mediterranean diet – rich in olive oil, nuts, as well as fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and limited amounts of dairy products, red meat, soda drinks, processed meats, and sweets – inversely associates with cardiovascular risks. Jordi Salas-Salvado, from the Hospital de Sant Joan de Reus (Spain), and colleagues studied data collected on 3,541 men and women, ages 55 to 80 years, at high cardiovascular risk but without diabetes at the study’s start. Subjects were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 diets: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil; a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts; or a control diet (advice on a low-fat diet). No intervention to increase physical activity or lose weight was included. The researchers observed that those subjects on the Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil were the least likely to develop type-2 diabetes, at a 30% reduced likelihood over the next 4 years (as compared to the control diet). The study authors report that: “A Mediterranean diet enriched with [extra-virgin olive oil] but without energy restrictions reduced diabetes risk among persons with high cardiovascular risk.”
Jordi Salas-Salvado, Monica Bullo, Ramon Estruch, Emilio Ros, Maria-Isabel Covas, Nuria Ibarrola-Jurado, et al. “Prevention of Diabetes With Mediterranean Diets: A Subgroup Analysis of a Randomized Trial.” Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(1):1-10-10.