It Is Not The Olive Oil

A place to get your questions answered from McDougall staff dietitian, Jeff Novick, MS, RDN.

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It Is Not The Olive Oil

Postby JeffN » Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:53 am

This study just came out.

Role of vegetables and fruits in Mediterranean diets to prevent hypertension. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;63(5):605-12. Epub 2008 Feb 27.

What I found most interesting is that there was a strong relationship between the amount of olive oil consumed (which you often here touted in the media as being the part of the MED diet that is more beneficial) and the amount of fruit and vegetables, fiber and saturated fat. Those who ate the most olive oil, also ate the most fruit and veggies, took in the most fiber, and the least saturated fat. From the lowest group to the highest group, they difference was they ate 250% the amount of fruit and veggies, 275% the amount of fiber, 25% less saturated fat, and about 60% more olive oil. Yet, even in the highest olive oil group, the amount consumed was 22 grams a day, which is the equivalent of just over 1.5 TB per day.

Seems to me the biggest difference and impact is from the difference in the F&V, Fiber and Sat Fat.

And, notice their conclusions, the benefit was only seen amongst those with the lowest consumption of olive oil. So, those who had a high fruit and veggies intake and a high olive oil intake did not get the same benefit as those who had a high fruit and veggie intake and a low olive oil intake.

It is not the olive oil. :)

Regards
Jeff Novick, MS, RD

Role of vegetables and fruits in Mediterranean diets
to prevent hypertension. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2008), 1–8

Background/Objectives: Several studies support the effectiveness of increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables (F&V) to prevent hypertension. However, none of them have been conducted in a Mediterranean setting. The aim of this study was to assess the association between F&V consumption and the risk of hypertension.

Subjects/Methods: A prospective Mediterranean study (the SUN cohort), including 8594 participants aged 20–95 years (mean, 41.1) with median follow-up of 49 months.

Results: Analyses according to the joint classification by olive oil and F&V consumption showed a significant inverse relation between F&V consumption and the risk of hypertension only among participants with a low olive oil consumption (< 15 g per day). Also, tests for trend were significant only in the low olive oil intake stratum.

Conclusions: We found a statistically significant interaction (P1/40.01) between olive oil intake and F&V consumption. These data suggest a sub-additive effect of both food items.
Last edited by JeffN on Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jaggu » Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:16 pm

Have you come across any paper or research that was done for heart diease? It was believed the low rate of heart disease among people who consumed Mediterranean diet was due to olive oil. This study talks about hypertension, I'm interested in heart disease.
Jaggu
 

Postby JeffN » Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:43 am

Jaggu wrote:Have you come across any paper or research that was done for heart diease? It was believed the low rate of heart disease among people who consumed Mediterranean diet was due to olive oil. This study talks about hypertension, I'm interested in heart disease.


As you know, Hypertension is an independent risk factor for heart disease so anything that helps with hypertension, helps with heart disease.

In regard to the MED diet, the information is really confusing because of all the marketing that we hear about olive oil.

There is a fairly recent study done on the Isle of Crete, where the original famous Mediterranean diet of the 1960's came from. They looked at 304 patients In Crete, 152 patients with heart disease vs 152 without heart disease. The patients with heart disease had significantly higher daily intakes of monounsaturated fats (Olive Oil). The patients without heart disease had higher intakes of carbohydrates, fiber, folate & omega 3’s. The more mono unsaturated fat (olive oil) consumed, The more heart disease.

Br J Nutr. 2004 Jun;91(6):1013-9

In addition, a study done on African Green Monkeys showed that the group of monkeys that were given the oil high in Mono fat, had as much atherosclerosis as the group that was fed butter, and the Mono group developed the most large dense LDL particles (the worst sub fraction of LDL)

Rudel, L., Parks, JS, Sawyer JK. Arterioscler Throm Vasc Biol, 1995 Dec:15 (12): 2101-10

Those in the Mediterranean countries were healthy because they walked everywhere, did hard physical labor and ate an unrefined plant based diet. They were not healthy because of the olive oil in their diet but in spite of it.

Olive oil consumption is also greatly over exaggerated. Consumption in Greece in the 1960s was about 40 grams "availability" a day, which is around 2 TB consumed. Italy and Spain was around 24 grams "availability" a day or about 1.5 TB consumed. France was even lower. And most of them put the olive oil on fresh veggies and salads.

You know that olive oil can not be the key ingredient to a heart healthy diet because many other long lived populations use no olive oil at all.

In Health
Jeff Novick, MS, RD
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