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The role of olive oil in lowering cancer risk: Is this real gold or simply pinchbeck?
  1. National School of Public Health, “Instituto de Salud Carlos III”, Spain (

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    For ancient Greeks, the olive tree was a symbol of success and peace, and the extracted oil was anointed on important members of the society. It was believed that prosperity and wealth depended on this ritual, and not only olive oil, but the olives themselves, constituted an indispensable food in ancient Greeks' diet. Today, our society is not as interested in these allegorical implications, but rather in pragmatic facts. Currently, olive oil is more widely used throughout the world than it ever has been, and it is increasingly being used as a substitute for other vegetable fats and for animal fats. As we move more and more towards globalisation and a more powerful influence of the mass media, and within the context of this practical perspective, citizens around the world may wonder how to get to the bottom line from different and sometimes conflicting messages received from different sources, including health professionals trying to promote healthy habits (including physicians trying to advise patients) and food companies or advertisers promoting their products and seeking to increase their profits. We believe that looking to independent researchers can help shed light on these mixed messages.

    Triggered by a most interesting article published in this issue of the journal,1 and given the high mortality and morbidity from cancer today and the consequent interest in attempts to …

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