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A 3 years follow-up of a Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil is associated with high plasma antioxidant capacity and reduced body weight gain



The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of a Mediterranean dietary pattern on plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC) after 3 years of intervention and the associations with adiposity indexes in a randomized dietary trial (PREDIMED trial) with high cardiovascular risk patients.


187 subjects were randomly selected from the PREDIMED-UNAV center after they completed 3-year intervention program. Participants were following a Mediterranean-style diet with high intake of virgin olive oil or high intake of nuts, or a conventional low-fat diet. Adiposity indexes were measured at baseline and at year 3. Plasma TAC was evaluated using a commercially available colorimetric assay kit.


Plasma TAC in the control, olive oil and nuts groups was 2.01±0.15, 3.51±0.14 and 3.02±0.14 mM Trolox, respectively after adjusting for age and sex. The differences between the Mediterranean diet and control groups were statistically significant (P<0.001). Moreover higher levels of TAC were significantly associated with a reduction in body weight after 3 years of intervention among subjects allocated to the virgin olive oil group (B=−1.306; 95% CI=−2.439 to −0.173; P=0.025, after adjusting for age, sex and baseline body mass index).


Mediterranean diet, especially rich in virgin olive oil, is associated with higher levels of plasma antioxidant capacity. Plasma TAC is related to a reduction in body weight after 3 years of intervention in a high cardiovascular risk population with a Mediterranean-style diet rich in virgin olive oil.

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We are specially indebted to Professor Valentina Ruiz-Gutierrez from the Instituto de la Grasa, CSIC, Sevilla (Spain) for her invaluable help to ensure the free provision of olive oil to our participants and to all other members of the PREDIMED group: Salas-Salvado J, Corrella D, Fiol M, Ros E, Aros F, Gomez-Gracia E, Lamuela-Raventos RM, Saez G, Lapetra J, Serra-Majem L, Pinto l, Covas MI, Tur JA and Portillo MP. We acknowledge all the sources of support: Department of Health of the Navarra Government (Spain), Linea Especial (LE 97) of the University of Navarra, Instituto de Salud Carlos III of the Spanish Government (SUBDIRECCION GENERAL DE REDES: (RD 06/0045, PREDIMED Project) and CIBERobn, which is also an initiative of Instituto de Salud Carlos III (CB06/03/1017).

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Correspondence to A Marti.

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Contributors: CR carried out the experimental procedures, the analysis and interpretation of the data, and drafted the paper. AM participated in the design of this study and reviewed the paper. JAM helped to the interpretation of the data and reviewed the paper. AM and JAM helped with the financial management. MAM-G helped to the statistical analysis and reviewed the paper. MAM-G, MTM and RS participated in the initiation and design of the PREDIMED study and in the recruitment of the subjects. All authors read and approved of the final version of the paper.

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Razquin, C., Martinez, J., Martinez-Gonzalez, M. et al. A 3 years follow-up of a Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil is associated with high plasma antioxidant capacity and reduced body weight gain. Eur J Clin Nutr 63, 1387–1393 (2009).

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  • Mediterranean diet
  • plasma antioxidant capacity
  • olive oil
  • body weight

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