Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Reduces Glycemic Response to a High-Glycemic Index Meal in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Diabetes Care. 2016 Apr;39(4):518-24. doi: 10.2337/dc15-2189. Epub 2016 Feb 9.


Objective: To evaluate 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.

Research design and methods: 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 (extra-virgin olive oil) (EVOO). Premeal insulin doses were based on insulin-to-glycemic load ratios. Continuous glucose monitoring was performed and 6-h PPG evaluated.

Results: PPG was significantly different between HGI and LGI meals (P = 0.005 for time × glycemic index interaction by repeated-measures analysis [RMA]), being significantly higher during the first 3 h after the HGI meals with a later tendency to an opposite pattern. In the context of HGI meals, PPG was significantly lower after EVOO than after low fat or butter (P < 0.0001 for time × meal interaction by RMA), with a marked difference in the 0- to 3-h glucose incremental area under the curve between EVOO (mean ± SD 198 ± 274 mmol/L × 180 min) and either low fat (416 ± 329) or butter (398 ± 355) (P < 0.05). No significant differences were observed in PPG between the three LGI meals.

Conclusions: Carbohydrate quality of a mixed meal influences shape and extent of PPG. Besides, using EVOO in a HGI meal attenuates the early postprandial glucose 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.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02330939.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Meals
  • Middle Aged
  • Olive Oil / administration & dosage*
  • Postprandial Period
  • Sample Size
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Insulin
  • Olive Oil

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02330939