ISLAMABAD: Now, olive oil has been linked with a host of health benefits, including protecting the heart and lengthening life.
A recent study found the Mediterranean diet with lashings of extra virgin olive oil was even linked with a 'relatively lower' risk of breast cancer.
Writing for The Conversation, Professor of Tim Spector, of King's College London, attempted to drink a glass of olive oil a day.
But while theoretically he recognised the health benefits of an oil-rich diet, in practice it was hard to stomach.
Here, he describes how a daily glass of the golden liquid left him feeling worse for wear...
After a slew of studies suggested a diet rich in olive oil could lengthen life, Professor of Tim Spector, of King's College London, attempted to drink a glass of the golden liquid a day (file photo)
I felt nauseous and dizzy. My attempted one week of following the intensive olive oil diet was not going well.
It was eight in the morning and on an empty stomach I had only finished half of the small glass of golden liquid specially chosen by my Spanish friends as the smoothest Albequina variety of extra virgin olive oil.
Dipping crusty warm bread into it before an evening meal is one thing. Drinking it neat in the morning was another.
For the sake of science and my book I was trying to emulate the diets of Cretan fishermen from the 1960s, who reportedly had a glass of olive oil for breakfast before a hard day of fishing or goat herding.
These high intakes of oil had been suggested as a cause of their remarkable longevity, despite the large amounts of saturated fat they consumed as a result.
I decided to replace my usual yoghurt and fruit breakfast with the golden drink to test the story.
Thirty minutes later I was lying on the floor after a faint in the hairdresser, which was unlikely to be a coincidence.
Despite realising I maybe should have lined my stomach first, I abandoned my heroic attempt.
EAT LIKE THE GREEKS TO PREVENT BREAST CANCER:
It is believed to protect against heart disease, Alzheimer's and depression and is hailed as the secret to a long, healthy life.
Now, researchers have found a Mediterranean diet can also help breast cancer at bay.
A study found eating the diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil was associated with a 'relatively lower' risk of breast cancer.
Spanish women who followed the diet reduced their risk of the disease by 68 per cent, compared to women told to follow a low-fat diet.
The Mediterranean consists of plant-based foods such as vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts, seeds and olives, lots of extra virgin olive oil, fish, and moderate red wine intake.
It also involves a low consumption of processed food, processed carbohydrates, sweets, chocolate and red meat.
In Britain and the US, people consume on average around 1 litre of olive oil per person per year, but isn't much compared to the Greeks, Italians and Spanish who all consume more 13 litres per person.
Olive oil, with its high calories and mixed saturated and unsaturated fats, was once assumed by many doctors to be dreadfully unhealthy.
But health surveys of European populations kept finding that southern Europeans lived longer and had less heart disease despite higher fat intakes. It turns out olive oil was the likely reason.