If studies we recently ran across are any indication, while olive oil may not produce dramatic weight losses, it supports healthy fat and glucose metabolism, and this can contribute to gradually shedding pounds, especially fat mass.
The first study showed that higher levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), the kind of fat that predominates in olive oil, led to breaking down more fat in the body for use as energy.
A second study, found that overweight and obese men lost more weight, especially fat mass, when they ate a diet high in MUFA versus a diet of equal caloric value but high in saturated fat instead.
Finally, a review of 20 clinical trials compared low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic, high-protein and Mediterranean-type diets. (Up to 40% of calories in Mediterranean diets come from olive oil.) This review found that the Mediterranean diet came out way ahead of the other diets in improving blood sugar control and in promoting weight loss in diabetics.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Even the conservative US Food and Drug Administration allows a label claim that two tablespoons of olive oil a day reduces the risk of heart disease. And with its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory constituents, olive oil promotes health in virtually every part of the body.
However if you want to get all of olive oil’s benefits, make sure you’re getting REAL olive oil. It’s a little known fact that almost all olive oils you’re likely to find—even in gourmet and health-food stores—is adulterated with toxic, processed vegetable oils. Some years ago, Raymond Francis investigated and wrote about this scandal; he also found a source for pure, unadulterated olive oil, made by a family he came to know very well, for our Beyond Health Olive Oil. In addition to being pure olive oil, it is made in the traditional way, known to maximize health benefits.
Processed vegetable oils are made with toxic solvents and heated to high temperatures, oxidizing the oil. More chemicals are added when the oils are bleached and deodorized. Such oils have no place in a healthy diet.
Even when olive oil is not mixed with other oils, it can be made in a way that destroys its health-giving properties.
Pure olive oil, made in the correct way, is full of natural and beneficial plant chemicals. For example, it is enriched with “phytonutrients” (beneficial plant chemicals) like 2-phenylethanol, which stimulates production of fat-digesting enzymes in the pancreas and may be at least in part responsible for olive oil’s assistance in achieving a healthy weight.
- Soriguer F. Monounsaturated n-9 fatty acids & adipocyte lipolysis in rats. British Journal of Nutrition. December 2003;90(6):1015-1022.
- Piers LS. Substitution of saturated with monounsaturated fat in a 4-week diet affects body weight and composition of overweight and obese men. British Journal of Nutrition. September 2003;90(3):717-727.