Diabetes mellitus is one of
the leading health problems in the developed countries, and the sixth cause of
death. It is one of the major metabolic diseases and it is potentially very
serious because it can cause many complications that seriously damage health,
such as cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure, blindness, peripheral
circulation disorders, etc.
There are two types of diabetes mellitus:
type-I or insulin-dependent diabetes, found in children and teenagers, and
type-II or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, which appears in adulthood, generally
from the age of 40 onwards. Insulin is required to control the first type while
the second, more frequent type is generally associated with obesity and does not
call for insulin treatment. Nowadays a person is considered to be a diabetic
when, two hours after an oral overdose of glucose, he or she has a fasting blood
sugar level of more than 126 mg/dl, or of more than 200 mg/dl in non-fasting
Glucose intolerance is a situation where a person has high blood
sugar levels (between 110 and 125 mg/dl) without any clear signs of disease, but
with a major risk of suffering from diabetes in the future.
An olive-oil-rich diet is
not only a good alternative in the treatment of diabetes; it may also help to
prevent or delay the onset of the disease. How it does so is by preventing
insulin resistance and its possible pernicious implications by raising
HDL-cholesterol, lowering triglycerides, and ensuring better blood sugar level
control and lower blood pressure. It has been demonstrated that a diet that is
rich in olive oil, low in saturated fats, moderately rich in carbohydrates and
soluble fibre from fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains is the most effective
approach for diabetics. Besides lowering the "bad" low-density lipoproteins,
this type of diet improves blood sugar control and enhances insulin sensitivity.
These benefits have been documented in child and adult diabetes.