Adding extra-virgin olive oil or other healthy fats to a high-glycemic index meal reduces the impact on blood glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes, according to new research.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery at Federico II University, Naples, suggests that monounsaturated fats can offset the impact on blood glucose levels caused by carbohydrates.
How was the study conducted?
The study involved 13 people with type 1 diabetes, all of whom used insulin pumps. The researchers monitored their blood glucose levels following meals.
After low-carb meals, the amount and quality of fats made little difference to the effect on blood glucose levels. But after high-carb meals, the participants who ate more high-quality fats saw a much slower rise in blood glucose levels. Extra-virgin olive oil in particular improved post-meal blood glucose levels.
“The results of this study have important clinical implications for patients with type 1 diabetes, as they indicate that the combination of the effects of carbohydrate foods and type of fat should be considered for timing and dose of prandial insulin administratio,” the researchers wrote.
“This study shows for the first time that the type of fat significantly influences postprandial glycemic response in patients with type 1 diabetes.”
Diabetes, fats and carbohydrates
Although the study is limited by its very small sample size, it makes an interesting contribution to the growing body of low-carbohydrate research. More and more studies are finding that a diet low in refined carbohydrates and high in healthy, high-quality fats can be extremely beneficial for people with diabetes.
If you are interested in learning more about the low-carb diet, have a look at the Low-Carb Program, a structured, 10-week guide to following the low-carb diet.
The findings are published in the journal Diabetes Care.

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