Olive oil has a beneficial effect on impaired glucose regulation and other cardiometabolic risk factors. Di@bet.es study

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Despite the marked increase in cardiovascular risk factors in Spain in recent years, the prevalence and incidence of cardiovascular diseases have not risen as expected. Our objective is to examine the association between consumption of olive oil and the presence of cardiometabolic risk factors in the context of a large study representative of the Spanish population.


A population-based, cross-sectional, cluster sampling study was conducted. The target population was the whole Spanish population. A total of 4572 individuals aged ≥ 18 years in 100 clusters (health centers) were randomly selected with a probability proportional to population size. The main outcome measures were clinical and demographic structured survey, lifestyle survey, physical examination (weight, height, body mass index, waist, hip and blood pressure) and oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) (75 g).


Around 90% of the Spanish population use olive oil, at least for dressing, and slightly fewer for cooking or frying. The preference for olive oil is related to age, educational level, alcohol intake, body mass index and serum glucose, insulin and lipids. People who consume olive oil (vs sunflower oil) had a lower risk of obesity (odds ratio (OR) = 0.62 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.41–0.93, P = 0.02)), impaired glucose regulation (OR = 0.49 (95% CI = 0.28–0.86, P = 0.04)), hypertriglyceridemia (OR = 0.53 (95% CI = 0.33–0.84, P = 0.03)) and low HDL cholesterol levels (OR = 0.40 (95% CI = 0.26–0.59, P = 0.0001)).


The results show that consumption of olive oil has a beneficial effect on different cardiovascular risk factors, particularly in the presence of obesity, impaired glucose tolerance or a sedentary lifestyle.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2013) 67, 911–916; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.130; published online 17 July 2013

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