Olive Oil Health Benefits—Weight Control

Weight ScaleIt is important to first point out that although olive oil, for all its health benefits, is high in calories. Olive oil must be consumed is small quantities. More is not always better and that holds true for olive oil. In fact, we continue to promote that adding 2 tablespoons a day is the optimal amount for a healthy diet.

We point this out, as it may seem confusing, when you hear that including fat in your diet can help you lose fat. But a recent study in which olive oil was substituted for other saturated fats, there was a clear correlation between the use of olive oil in a healthy diet and a reduction in body weight and fat mass. What makes this study so compelling is that the only variable used in the study was the substitution of olive oil for saturated fats.

Some details of the study:
Eight men were divided into two groups for four weeks eating similar foods with the exception that the first group ate more saturated than unsaturated fats. The first group followed a saturated fat-rich diet based on 24% calories from saturated fat, 13% from monounsaturated fat (olive oil), and 3% from polyunsaturated fat. The second group’s diet was modified to include 22% monounsaturated fats (olive oil), 7% polyunsaturated fats and 11% saturated fats. The second group consumed the same number of calories as the first group, and there was no increase in physical activity in either group. At the end of four weeks, the men from the second group were lighter and had a lower body-fat index than the men who ate the saturated fats.

The results clearly indicated a relationship between the consumption of olive oil in a diet and the fat cell lypolytic (fat breakdown) activity.

There has also been published research reported that indicates olive oil may be beneficial to reducing belly fat and insulin sensitivity. The research deduced that when type 2 diabetic patients were different diets - a high carbohydrate diet, or a diet rich in either saturated fat or olive oil (Mediterranean diet) - the high carb diet increased abdominal fat compared to the fat-rich diets. Of the three diets, the diet rich in olive oil did best, preventing not only belly fat accumulation, but insulin resistance and a drop in adiponectin. Adiponectin, a hormone produced and secreted by fat cells (adipocytes), regulates sugar and fat metabolism, improves insulin sensitivity, and has anti-inflammatory effects on the cells lining the blood vessel walls.