It’s no secret that we love extra-virgin olive oil. We’re talked about it repeatedly, covered its uses inside and outside the kitchen, explored some unexpected marinades, including this chocolate one, and highlighted its main health benefits.
With health in mind, today we’re focusing on its effect on diabetes, a disease that affects over 420 million people worldwide (2014 data from the WHO’s Global Report on Diabetes, Geneva, 2016). Closely linked to obesity, high blood pressure and sedentary lifestyles, it has been calculated that 50% of sufferers are unaware they have the disease, a figure that can even reach 80% in some countries. This is no laughing matter.
Healthy eating goes hand in hand with good health, and the Mediterranean diet has been shown to help significantly reduce the risk of suffering diabetes. This is one of the conclusions of the Predimed (Prevention with a Mediterranean Diet) study, which works with people with diabetes or people at the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases.
After years of study, those people who had followed a Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil saw their risk of suffering diabetes fall between 40% and 18%, compared with those who had followed a low-fat diet. They also managed to slow down the disease’s progress once diagnosed, which meant medical treatment could be delayed.
Why? The reason is simple if we distinguish between healthy fats (unsaturated) and unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats). Unsaturated fats, found in extra-virgin olive oil—as well as in blue fish and nuts, for example—help reduce weight and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Not all fats are bad and there’s no need to ban them from the kitchen. So now you know.