02 Mar 2016 --- An Italian study found that adding extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to foods reduces the glycemic index of meals, helping to protect against cardiovascular complications and Type 1 diabetes.
The study evaluated whether fat quality, in the context of meals with high– (HGI) or low–glycemic index (LGI), influences postprandial blood glucose (PPG) response in patients with Type 1 diabetes. The results are published in Diabetes Care journal.
Current guidelines for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes advise to calculate the units of insulin to be administered with meals, based on the carbohydrate content of the foods that will be eaten (the so-called 'count carbs').
However, this system, despite the efforts made by patients, does not always prove effective in controlling blood glucose levels in an optimal way.
The most important element, however, is the glycemic index of foods consumed and the fiber content of a particular food. The same group of researchers of the SID, the authors of the work published in Diabetes Care, in a previous study had shown that even in the post counts of carbohydrates a correction that takes into account the glycemic index of foods helps to improve glycemic control. But of course, to influence the absorption of carbohydrates also contribute other macronutrients that they become part of a meal, in particular proteins and fats. And 'ever more evident the role that dietary fats play in influencing blood sugar levels after a meal.
In general, the fats tend to delay the gastric emptying times and this should in theory result in an attenuation of the peak of PPG. E 'was also shown that the glycemic index of certain foods can be reduced after totalising with fat.
According to a randomized crossover design, 13 patients with Type 1 diabetes on insulin pump consumed two series (HGI or LGI) of meals with the same carbohydrate quantity while differing for amount and quality of fat: 1) low in fat (“low-fat”), 2) high in saturated fat (butter), or 3) high in monounsaturated fat (EVOO).
The PPG was significantly different between HGI and LGI meals.
Carbohydrate quality of a mixed meal influences shape and extent of PPG. Besides, using EVOO in a high glycemic index meal attenuates the early PPG response observed when this meal is consumed with either low-fat or butter. Therefore, an optimal prandial insulin administration would require considering, in addition to the quantity of carbohydrates, the quality of both carbohydrate and fat.
"Extra virgin olive oil is a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and many other chronic diseases,” says Angela Rivellese, one of the study authors.
“The health benefits of extra virgin olive oil on cardiovascular risk factors and, in particular, on cholesterol levels, blood pressure, on the accumulation of fat in the liver, on the utilization of glucose in muscle level, mainly depend on the type of fat contained in it, largely unsaturated, unlike those in the butter, the cream, cheese and fatty meats that are predominantly saturated."
“However, the extra virgin olive oil also contains other bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, which are substances with high antioxidant power which help prevent atherosclerosis and contribute to the many health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, including the good control of blood sugar after meals."
"The results of this study were obtained in insulin-treated diabetic patients - said Gabriele Riccardi, who also authored the results of the study.
“However, it is likely that similar benefits can be obtained even in those who are taking other medications or even with diet alone, since the presence of elevated blood glucose peaks after meals is a general characteristic of the diabetic disease, not easily controlled with therapy.”
“Therefore, one or two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with meals can help moderate your blood sugar without excessively limiting foods that contain carbohydrates, even those such as bread, rice, polenta and potatoes have a higher glycemic index.”
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