Diabetes Forecast

After-Meal Blood Glucose Spikes? Try Using Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

What to Know

The glycemic index, or GI, indicates how much a food that contains carbohydrates elevates your blood glucose level. The higher the GI, the higher your level rises. Foods with a low GI, which you digest more slowly, are considered better for you because they don’t cause your glucose levels to spike. According to researchers, some types of fat can affect how your glucose levels respond to a high-GI meal. In this study, the researchers wanted to determine how different types of fat (or the lack of fat) affects glucose levels after both high-GI and low-GI meals.

The Study

Researchers in Naples, Italy, recruited 13 patients with type 1 diabetes. For one week, each participant ate three meals that contained foods with a high GI. The following week, they switched to low-GI meals. While the foods were similar, they were prepared with different types and amounts of fat. One was low fat, one was high in saturated fat (butter), and the third was high in monounsaturated fat (extra-virgin olive oil). Throughout the study, the researchers continuously monitored each participant’s blood glucose.

The Results

The type or amount of fat did not have an effect on glucose levels when the study participants ate the low-GI meals. But when they ate a high-GI meal, it did make a difference. High-GI meals prepared with small amounts of fat or with butter caused a spike in the participants’ glucose levels. No such rise occurred when they ate the high-GI meal cooked with extra virgin olive oil.


The study suggests that, if you have type 1 diabetes, you can improve your post-meal glucose levels by swapping butter for extra virgin olive oil when you prepare a high-GI meal. The study authors note that they did not watch the participants eat, so they can’t be sure each of them carefully followed the meal plan they were given. Any deviations could have affected the study’s results.

Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Nationwide Longitudinal Study. Mu-Hong Chen, Wen-Hsuan Lan, Ju-Wei Hsu, et al. Diabetes Care May 2016, 39 (5) 788-793; http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc15-1807

The information on this screen does not take the place of care from your doctor or other health care provider. If you have general questions about diabetes or diabetes-related research, e-mail askada@diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2382).



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