British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Dietary Surveys and Nutritional Epidemiology

Intake and home use of olive oil or mixed oils in relation to healthy lifestyles in a Mediterranean population. Findings from the prospective Pizarra study

Federico Soriguera1a2a3 c1, M. Cruz Almaraza1a2a3, J. M. García-Almeidaa1a3, Isabel Cardonaa1a2a3, Francisca Linaresa1a2a3, Sonsoles Morcilloa1a2a3, Eva García-Escobara1a2a3, M. Carmen Dobarganesa4, Gabriel Olveiraa1a2a3, Virginia Hernandoa1, Sergio Valdesa1a2a3, M. Soledad Ruiz-de-Adanaa1a2a3, Isabel Estevaa1 and Gemma Rojo-Martíneza1a2a3

a1 Servicio de Endocrinología y Nutrición, Hospital Universitario Carlos Haya, 29009 Malaga, Spain

a2 CIBER Diabetes and Metabolism (CIBERDEM), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), Alicante, Spain

a3 CIBER Physiology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBEROBN), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), Madrid, Spain

a4 Instituto de la Grasa, CSIC, Seville, Spain


Discordances exist in epidemiological studies regarding the association between the intake of nutrients and death and disease. We evaluated the social and health profile of persons who consumed olive oil in a prospective population cohort investigation (Pizarra study) with a 6-year follow-up. A food frequency questionnaire and a 7 d quantitative questionnaire were administered to 538 persons. The type of oil used in food preparation was determined by direct measurement of the fatty acids in samples obtained from the kitchens of the participants at baseline and after follow-up for 6 years. The fatty acid composition of the serum phospholipids was used as an endogenous marker of the type of oil consumed. Total fat intake accounted for a mean 40 % of the energy (at baseline and after follow-up). The concordance in intake of MUFA over the study period was high. The fatty acid composition of the serum phospholipids was significantly associated with the type of oil consumed and with fish intake. The concentration of polar compounds and polymers, indicative of degradation, was greater in oils from the kitchens where sunflower oil or refined olive oil was used, in oils used for deep frying and in oils that had been reused for frying five times or more. Consumption of olive oil was directly associated with educational level. Part of the discordance found in epidemiological studies between diet and health may be due to the handling of oils during food preparation. The intake of olive oil is associated with other healthy habits.

(Received June 16 2008)

(Revised May 27 2009)

(Accepted May 28 2009)

(Online publication September 14 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Federico Soriguer, fax +34 952286704, email


Abbreviations: P75, 75th percentile