Olive oil in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies and intervention trials

Nutr Diabetes. 2017 Apr 10;7(4):e262. doi: 10.1038/nutd.2017.12.


Background/objectives: Olive oil (OO) as food is composed mainly of fatty acids and bioactive compounds depending from the extraction method. Both had been discussed as health promoting with still open questions. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis to illustrate the impact of this food on type 2 diabetes (T2D) by investigating the association between OO intake and risk of T2D, and the effect of OO intake in the management of T2D.

Subjects/methods: Searches were performed in PubMed, Cochrane Library and google scholar. First, we conducted a random effect meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies and trials investigating the association between OO and risk of T2D. Second, a meta-analysis was performed to detect the effects of olive oil on glycemic control in patients with T2D.

Results: Four cohort studies including 15 784 T2D cases and 29 trials were included in the meta-analysis. The highest OO intake category showed a 16% reduced risk of T2D (RR: 0.84; 95% CI: 0.77, 0.92) compared with the lowest. However, we observed evidence for a nonlinear relationship. In T2D patients OO supplementation resulted in a significantly more pronounced reduction in HbA1c (MD: -0.27%; 95% CI: -0.37, -0.17) and fasting plasma glucose (MD: -0.44 mmol l-1; 95% CI -0.66, -0.22) as compared with the control groups.

Conclusions: This meta-analysis provides evidence that the intake of OO could be beneficial for the prevention and management of T2D. This conclusion regards OO as food, and might not been valid for single components comprising this food.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Olea / chemistry*
  • Olive Oil / therapeutic use*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Olive Oil