Dr. Vogel: “Olive Oil Depresses Endothial Function”

Here’s Dr. Robert Vogel, the lead author of that last study1 cited in my post, Olive Oil Shown To Promote Atherosclerosis, speaking to Dr. Henry Black in a Medscape interview last May:2

I can’t embed the video but I’ve linked it here.


Dr. Vogel: There is no question that what you do daily — whether it is what you eat, how you exercise, whether you watch television or videos, or whatever — affects your endothelial function, and it affects it very quickly. One of the things we demonstrated several years ago is that if you eat a noxious kind of meal, a fast-food meal, your endothelial function worsens considerably. You lose about 50% of your endothelial function within 2 or 3 hours.[1,2]

Dr. Black: How do you measure that?

Dr. Vogel: We measure brachial reactivity. This is a noninvasive ultrasound test that measures the size of an artery and then looks at arterial changes after a stimulus, which is blood pressure cuff occlusion.

Dr. Black: Is anything else potentially detrimental aside from the fat in a diet?

Dr. Vogel: Many things are possibly detrimental or beneficial, but we found that what most depresses endothelial function is saturated fat.

Dr. Black: What about the Mediterranean diet? What do we know about that?

Dr. Vogel: That is a very hot topic right now. The PREDIMED study[3] from Barcelona included 7500 patients and showed about a 30% reduction in cardiovascular events with a Mediterranean diet. Of interest, I think they wanted to prove that it was the olive oil that was beneficial, but they got the same results whether participants consumed high amounts of olive oil or high amounts of mixed nuts. So they did not show what I think they intended to show.

We have looked at olive oil.[4] We found that olive oil may be not as bad as lard, but it does depress endothelial function, and that is because it also has high saturated fat.

Dr. Black: But that is a surrogate. With the Mediterranean diet study, they actually had outcomes — something that is unusual in any diet study.

Dr. Vogel: This was the third and the best of the diet trials[3,5] because it was a prospective randomized trial of about 7500 folks. It was carefully controlled, and they looked at the cardiac events in an organized way. With a 30% reduction in cardiac events, which was statistically significant, I think we can be sure that a good diet does matter.

1 The Postprandial Effect Of Components Of The Mediterranean Diet On Endothelial Function, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, November 2000
2 Et Tu, Olive Oil? Fats and Endothelial Function, Medscape May 2013

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