Olive Oil May Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

August is designated National Olive Oil Month, and so several posts this month will cover some of the health benefits of olive oil. Today’s post will discuss research on the potential role for olive oil in prevention of Type 2 diabetes (T2D). 

Olives are a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. The largest producer of olive oil by far is Spain, with about 50% of the world’s production, followed by Greece, Italy and Turkey. In the U.S. olive oil is produced in California, Hawaii, Texas, Georgia, and Oregon. Extra Virgin Olive OIl is of the highest quality, and is processed simply by mechanical press, without any chemical processing. This is thought to result in the health benefits of olive oil.

A research group from Austria, Germany, and Spain performed a meta-analysis of existing studies, to examine the role of olive oil in type 2 diabetes mellitus. They included four cohort studies with over 183,000 subjects, and 29 random controlled trials with nearly 4000 subjects. The majority of these studies were either completed in Europe or the United States. The study duration of the cohort studies varied between 6 and 22 years, while the length for the random controlled studies varied between 2 weeks and 4 years.

After analyzing the various studies the researchers found that the use of olive oil was inversely associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The risk of T2D decreased by 13% as the intake of olive oil increased, up to 15-20 grams per day. There was no apparent benefit in increasing intake above the 15-20 grams/day amount.

In addition, those in the olive oil intervention groups were found to have lower fasting glucose levels, and significantly reduced HbA1c levels.

Incorporating olive oil into your diet appears to be a simple way to lower one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and would be easy to implement.

“The olive tree is surely the richest gift of heaven. I can scarcely expect bread.”- Thomas Jefferson

(Source- Nutrition and Diabetes (2017))

This blog is a review of published medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.

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