Olive Oil Health Benefits—Diabetes

Tennis OliveAccording to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the type of fat you eat is more important than your total fat consumption. Particularly, eating less saturated fats which are unhealthy, is highly recommended. Saturated fats raise blood cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and people with diabetes are at high risk for heart disease.

ADA recommends replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats. Studies suggest that people with diabetes who consume a diet high in monounsaturated fats have the same level of control over blood sugar levels as those who eat a low fat diabetic diet. Additionally, the monounsaturated fats diet also keeps triglyceride levels in check, reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels and increase good HDL cholesterol levels. One of the ways to do this is to use olive oil instead of butter, margarine, or shortening when cooking.

There has also been published research that indicates olive oil may be beneficial to reducing belly fat and insulin sensitivity. The study showed that when Type 2 diabetic patients were fed 3 different diets - a high carbohydrate diet, a diet rich in either saturated fat or a diet rich with olive oil (Mediterranean diet) - the high carb diet increased abdominal fat compared to the fat-rich diets. Of the three diets, the diet rich in olive oil did best, preventing not only belly fat accumulation, but also insulin resistance, as well as a drop in adiponectin (a hormone that is produced and secreted by fat cells that regulates sugar and fat metabolism, improves insulin sensitivity, and has anti-inflammatory effects on the cells lining the blood vessel walls).