A 3 years follow-up of a Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil is associated with high plasma antioxidant capacity and reduced body weight gain

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Dec;63(12):1387-93. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2009.106. Epub 2009 Aug 26.


Background/objectives: The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of a Mediterranean dietary pattern on plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC) after 3 years of intervention and the associations with adiposity indexes in a randomized dietary trial (PREDIMED trial) with high cardiovascular risk patients.

Subjects/methods: 187 subjects were randomly selected from the PREDIMED-UNAV center after they completed 3-year intervention program. Participants were following a Mediterranean-style diet with high intake of virgin olive oil or high intake of nuts, or a conventional low-fat diet. Adiposity indexes were measured at baseline and at year 3. Plasma TAC was evaluated using a commercially available colorimetric assay kit.

Results: Plasma TAC in the control, olive oil and nuts groups was 2.01+/-0.15, 3.51+/-0.14 and 3.02+/-0.14 mM Trolox, respectively after adjusting for age and sex. The differences between the Mediterranean diet and control groups were statistically significant (P<0.001). Moreover higher levels of TAC were significantly associated with a reduction in body weight after 3 years of intervention among subjects allocated to the virgin olive oil group (B=-1.306; 95% CI=-2.439 to -0.173; P=0.025, after adjusting for age, sex and baseline body mass index).

Conclusions: Mediterranean diet, especially rich in virgin olive oil, is associated with higher levels of plasma antioxidant capacity. Plasma TAC is related to a reduction in body weight after 3 years of intervention in a high cardiovascular risk population with a Mediterranean-style diet rich in virgin olive oil.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nuts
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Olive Oil
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Waist Circumference
  • Weight Gain*


  • Antioxidants
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils