Tag Archives: type 1 diabetes

Olive Oil Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean DIet

Naturally low-glycemic index Caprese salad: mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil

Italian researchers found that extra-virgin olive oil taken with meals helps to reduce blood sugar elevations after meals in type 1 diabetics. This may help explain the lower observed incidence of diabetes seen in those eating a traditional Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil.

Before going further into the weeds, remember that glycemic index refers to how high and quickly a particular food elevates blood sugar. High-glycemic index foods raise blood sugar quicker and higher compared to low-glycemic index foods.

The study at hand is a small one: 18 patients. They were given both high- and low-glycemic meals with varying amounts and types of fat. Meals were either low-fat, high in saturated fat (from butter), or high in monounsaturated fat from olive oil. Meals that were high-glycemic index resulted in lower after-meal glucose levels if the meal had high olive oil content, compared to low-fat and butter-rich meals.

If meals were low in glycemic index, blood sugar levels were about the same whether the diet was low-fat, high in saturated fat, or rich in olive oil.

Action Plan

If you have type 1 diabetes and plan on eating high on the glycemic index scale, reduce your blood sugar excursions by incorporating extra-virgin olive oil into your meals.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference: Bozzetto, Luigarda, et al. 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, online before print, February 9, 2016. doi: 10.2337/dc15-2189

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

U.S. Life Expectancy: Overall Versus Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetics diagnosed in childhood and born between 1965 and 1980 have an average life expectancy of 68.8 years.  That compares to a lifespan average of 53.4 years for those born earlier, between 1950 and 1964.  The figures are based on Pittsburgh, PA, residents and published in a recent issue of Diabetes.

Elizabeth Hughes, one of the very first users of insulin injections, lived to be 73.  She started on insulin around 1922.

Average overall life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.2 years—roughly 76 for men and 81 for women.

Don’t be too discouraged if you have diabetes: you have roughly a 50:50 chance of beating the averages, and medical advances will continue to lengthen lifespan.

Steve Parker, M.D.