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Could olive oil help you lose weight?

Written By: Byron | April 3, 2023
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Olive oil for weight loss

Olive oil is often touted for its many health benefits, including its potential to aid in weight loss. While olive oil is high in calories and fat, its unique composition actually helps promote weight loss and improve your overall health. 

As a crucial ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, you intuitively know it’s got to be healthy — but there are also studies and evidence that prove olive oil is nutritious and can help you to lose and maintain your weight. 

Today, we’re going to focus on the weight loss aspect and the research behind it. Plus, we’ll give you tips on how to incorporate it into your diet.

But first, are we talking about typical olive oil people have in their kitchens? Yes, it’s the edible oil that comes from the fruit of the olive tree.

Best types of Olive oil

The best type of olive oil for you is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). This oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are considered to be a healthy type of fat, plus it’s high in antioxidants, so can fight and prevent all sorts of illnesses and diseases. 

While olive oil is high in calories (one tablespoon has around 120 calories and 14 grams of fat), let’s look at how it can help you lose weight. 

A quick word in case you’re about to run for a bottle: intaking more won’t make you lose more weight so don’t go drinking a glass a day. It’s about consistency. In the Mediterranean diet, four tablespoons is around the average consumed per day. 

If you’re trying to lose weight, some experts advise consuming less but still adding it to your daily routine. 

How much is optimum for you will all depend on your current situation, goals, exercise, etc. In general, the Mediterranean diet is all about balance, and this includes olive oil. Try swapping out the fats you currently have in your diet for olive oil and see how you feel — probably great!

An olive tree ranch covered in dew

How does olive oil aid in weight loss?

Generally speaking, olive oil helps you lose weight because it is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which are known to help with weight loss by reducing your appetite, increasing your metabolism, and reducing your body fat.

Reduces appetite

One of the ways olive oil can help you lose weight is by reducing your appetite. Studies have proven that people who eat olive oil feel fuller for longer periods than those who consume other types of oil or fats. 

This means that you eat less food throughout the day and, as a result, consume fewer calories. In most people, it also reduces cravings for unhealthy snacks and junk food. All of this helps with weight maintenance too, so it’s a great long-term health partner.  

Increases metabolism

Another way that olive oil can help with weight loss is by increasing your metabolism. This means that your body will burn more calories, even when you’re resting. This is because olive oil contains compounds called polyphenols, which have been shown to increase the number of calories your body burns.

Reduces body fat

Olive oil can help you lose weight by reducing your body fat. This is because the MUFA in olive oil can help reduce the accumulation of body fat, especially in the abdominal area. This is one of those areas that can be particularly stubborn too.

What the olive oil studies show…

One study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that the treatment group that was given extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) lost 80% more body fat than the control group (these people didn’t get EVOO). 

This study was concluded over the course of a nine-week trial where both groups were given high-fat breakfasts, but the control group got 25ml (0.85fl oz) of EVOO and the other group got 25ml (0.85fl oz) of soybean oil. That means just under 2 tablespoons a day was used to get these impactful results. 


Maintain your ideal weight with olive oil

Olive oil is also great for maintaining weight in the long term and isn’t just a fad diet. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (EJCN) published a three-year follow-up of people on a Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil, and found that it can be attributed to weight loss as this group lost significantly more weight than the control group. 

It is important to highlight that even in the long-term it continues to have positive effects on the body and keep the weight off or stable. 

Of course, while olive oil can aid in weight loss, it should still be consumed in moderation. It’s still high in calories so is important to be mindful of portion sizes and incorporate it into a balanced diet.

How to incorporate olive oil into your diet

The best type of olive oil is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). That’s because it’s the highest quality and has the most nutrients. Find out about 7 of the best Spanish extra virgin olive oils (2024) and where to buy them overseas.

Here are some simple ways to add more olive oil to your diet:

  1. Use it in a salad dressing: Instead of using store-bought salad dressing, make your own with olive oil, vinegar, and herbs, like this Mediterranean salad dressing recipe.
  2. Use it as a cooking oil: Olive oil can be used to sauté vegetables or as a substitute for butter or margarine in baking.
  3. Drizzle it over seasonal roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables are delicious and nutritious, and a drizzle of olive oil can add a flavorful twist.
  4. Use it in dips and spreads: Make a tasty Mediterranean hummus or another dip with olive oil. 
  5. Add it to pasta dishes: Olive oil can be used as a base for pasta sauces or drizzled over cooked pasta for added flavor, like this shrimp and mussels pasta recipe.

Olive oil and health: Summary

Overall, olive oil is an excellent addition to any healthy diet, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Its high MUFA content can help reduce your appetite, increase your metabolism, and reduce your body fat, leading to weight loss. 

Additionally, it can help you maintain a healthy weight by reducing your cravings for unhealthy foods and keeping you feeling full. So, start incorporating olive oil into your diet today and reap the numerous health benefits it has to offer. 

Olive Oil FAQs

Is olive oil good for weight loss?

Extra virgin olive oil has been proven to aid weight loss alongside a healthy balanced diet. Eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like those found in extra virgin olive oil will also help reduce fat storage around the belly. 

What is the healthiest olive oil?

Extra virgin olive oil is considered the healthiest oil due to its purity. Extra virgin olive oil is also the least processed of all olive oils, allowing it to retain the most minerals and vitamins, making it the healthiest choice. 

What olive oil is best for cholesterol?

Extra virgin olive oil is considered the best olive oil for people watching their cholesterol levels. EVOO contains heart-healthy antioxidants and has the highest cholesterol lowering effects of all the types of olive oil.

Does olive oil make you fat?

If you consume too much olive oil it would make you put on weight. Olive oil is a fat after all, even though it’s a healthy fat. Consumed as part of a healthy diet and not in excess, olive oil can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

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