Olive Oil Consumption Associated with Reduced Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Shannon McCarthy Headshot
By: Shannon McCarthy 

Type 2 diabetes is a global health problem affecting more than 382 million people worldwide and 29.1 million adults in the United States.1 Diabetes is a problem with your body that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels.2

Olive oil is made from an ancient technique of squeezing and pressing the juice out of fresh picked olives. Olive oil has already been shown to improve various cardiovascular risk factors and now been shown to also be associated with a decreased risk for type 2 diabetes.1

Many studies have been conducted relating olive oil consumption to theses positive health effects. Each study has its own limitations and variables, which show these results. One study showed that women who consumed more olive oil also ate more fish, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts. This is a huge factor in this study because it is not possible to then single out just the olive oil as the main reason for type 2 diabetes risk being lower.3 This being said though many studies have shown olive oil and its association with reduced type to diabetes risk, in men and women. Lifestyle changes and healthier eating habits along with consuming olive oil is a great way to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

Replacing 1 tablespoon of margarine, butter, or mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon of olive oil was associated with a predicted lower risk of type 2 diabetes. There was a 5% lower risk when replacing margarine with olive oil, 8% lower risk when replacing butter with olive oil, and 15% lower risk when replacing mayonnaise with olive oil.3 It was also suggested by researches that replacing fat-based salad dressing with olive oil should be considered for reducing type 2 diabetes.1

Diets like the Mediterranean diet include olive oil in large amounts. About two thirds of their vegetable fats come from olive oil.4 The Mediterranean diet may be suggested to those looking to reduce risk for type 2 diabetes. This diet consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, little to no processed foods, olive oil as the main source of fat, less red meat and more fish. Consuming olive oil daily is said to improve glucose metabolism in adults that were studied that already had type 2 diabetes.4

This evidence shows that the intake of olive oil could be beneficial for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.5 Replacing salad dressing and condiments with olive oil is beneficial and a suggested way to reduce rise of type 2 diabetes.


  1. Patella J. Higher olive oil intake associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes – directors choice. Natural Health Research Institute. 2015.
  2. Diabetes basics, type 2. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-2/. Assessed June 2 2017.
  3. Guasch-Ferre M, et al. Olive oil consumptions and risk of type 2 diabetes in US women. 2015 Am J Clin Nutr. DOI:10.3945/ajcn.115.112029.
  4. Schwingshackl L, et al. Nutr Diabetes. 2017;doi:10.1038/nutd.2017.12.
  5. Nutrition & Diabetes (2017); doi:10.1038/nutd.2017.12
    Published online 10 April 2017.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s