Study: Olive Oil May Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. consumption / kənˈsʌmp ʃən / (n) – the act of using, drinking, or eating something

    My doctor told me to lessen my sugar consumption.

  2. widely / ˈwaɪd li / (adv) – in a common manner

    The scientist’s inventions are widely used around the world.

  3. track / træk / (v) – to observe and follow the progress of something

    The scientists tracked the movements of aquatic animals for 20 years.

  4. swap / swɒp / (n) – an act of replacing one thing with another

    The swap from a high-carb diet to a plant-based one helped her lose more weight.

  5. in the long run / ɪn ðə lɔŋ rʌn / (idiom) – happening in the future

    He shouldn’t worry because his investments will grow in the long run.


Read the text below.

A recent study found that the consumption of olive oil can lower the risk of heart disease.

According to the study’s lead author, previous studies have found that high consumption of olive oil improves heart health. She added that this finding is especially true for those living in countries in the Mediterranean region, where olive oil is widely used. Because of this, her team conducted a study to determine if the same finding applies to people in the United States.

The researchers tracked the health of approximately 100,000 people in the United States from 1990 to 2014. Every 4 years within the 2-decade period, the study’s participants were asked to answer questionnaires about food intake and lifestyle. At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had cancer, heart problems, or other long-term diseases.

Findings showed that participants who regularly consumed more than 7 grams of olive oil a day were 21% less likely to develop coronary heart disease. These participants also had a 15% lower chance of developing any type of cardiovascular disease. In addition, those who replaced around 5 grams of mayonnaise, butter, and margarine with olive oil had a 7% and 5% lower chance of developing coronary heart disease and any type of cardiovascular disease, respectively.

In line with their findings, the researchers clarified that adding olive oil to people’s diet is not enough. They recommend using olive oil as a substitute for animal fat to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. According to the team, making small swaps can have beneficial effects in the long run.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think adding olive oil to one’s diet should be a common practice? Why or why not?
• Do you think it’s necessary to extend this study to other countries? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do findings of studies like this have a major impact on your eating habits? Why or why not?
• If you could further investigate the link between food and a health condition, what would you study (e.g. link between food and skin conditions)? Explain.