Olive oil beneficial for prevention and management of diabetes

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Regular olive oil consumption can reduce the risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and improve glucose metabolism in individuals who already have T2DM. The findings were published in Nutrition and Diabetes.

Researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 29 trials and 4 cohort studies identified after searches on PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Google scholar.

There was a 16% lower risk for T2DM in patients with the highest intake of olive oil compared with the lowest intake (RR, 0.84; P<.01). The relationship between olive oil intake and risk of T2DM was nonlinear (P<.01). Consumption of oil significantly reduced HbA1c (MD, -0.27%; P<.01) and fasting plasma glucose values (MD, -0.44mmol-1; P<.01) in patients with T2DM compared with control groups, i.e. low-fat diet, polyunsaturated fatty acid-rich oils and fish oil.

The authors believe polyphenols in olive oil can possibly inhibit carbohydrate digestion and absorption, reduce glucose release from liver or stimulate glucose uptake in peripheral tissues. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid in olive oil is known to reduce fasting glucose levels.

"The favourable effects of olive oil on T2DM risk and glycaemic control make it a suitable component of a balanced diet," the authors conclude.