Mediterranean Diet and Health: Is all the Secret in Olive Oil?

L. Serra-Majem, J. Ngo de la Cruz, L. Ribas, L. Salleras
2003 Pathophysiology of Haemostasis and Thrombosis  
Objective: The purpose of this study was to review and analyze the synergies of olive oil related food consumption and nutrient intake in a Mediterranean region. Design: Cross sectional study by face to face interview. Setting: Population based random sample derived from the Catalan Nutrition Survey. Subjects: 1600 individuals between 18 and 60 years of age. Intervention: Two 24-hour recalls were administered to measure food and nutrient intakes. Food group consumption and nutrient intakes
more » ... s between the highest (greater than 13.5% of total calories, 4th quartile) and lowest quartiles (less than 6.8% of total calories, 1st quartile) of olive oil consumption were calculated. Results: Comparing the highest quartile of olive oil consumption to the lowest, the highest ratios by food group consumption were observed for eggs, vegetables and fish in both men and women and non fried potatoes in women only. Lower ratios were associated in both sexes with softdrinks, commercially baked goods, processed meat and full fat milk and nuts in women only, and fried potatoes in men only. Analysis by nutrients showed higher ratios for carotenoids, monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E and folic acid in both sexes and Vitamin C and polyunsaturated fatty acids in women only. Lower ratios were seen for mono, di and polysaccharides, saturated fat, retinol and sodium in both genders and calcium niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and fibre in men only. Conclusion: Olive oil is a key contributor to the healthy aspects attributed to the Mediterranean diet, since its own health attributes may be added to those of foods that it's commonly served with (fish, vegetables), thus contributing to its thrombosis related disease preventive properties. As such, nutritional objectives in Mediterranean countries should address reducing saturated fats, without modifying quantities of olive oil, and increasing fish, vegetables and nuts.
doi:10.1159/000083846 pmid:15692261 fatcat:n3cgs5od4rfjzpm2mfdvmpok2e