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Olive Oil For Weight Loss 2022: Benefits & How To Use It?

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Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

olive oil for weight loss

Olive oil is part and parcel of the Mediterranean Diet. It is now a part of a healthy diet worldwide. In the US, 90 million gallons of olive oil[1] are consumed annually. Olive oil’s potential health benefits for cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and certain cancer types are well studied.

Weight and body composition have a big impact on these diseases. Thus, nutrition that allows healthy weight maintenance can help you to stay healthy. In this article, you will discover the science behind using olive oil for weight loss.

Is Olive Oil Good for Weight Loss?

Contrary to common belief, you need to eat healthy fats to promote weight loss. Because unhealthy foods are usually rich in saturated fat and calories, you should consume them in moderation. Eating primarily unsaturated fatty acids, meaning polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, is recommended for healthy calorie intake from the fat group[2].

Olive oil has one of the richest monounsaturated fatty acid profiles; thus, it is recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA)[2] as a healthy oil. Olive oil may indirectly aid weight loss by affecting blood sugar and insulin levels.

In a study[3], diabetic patients were given one of three diets: the Mediterranean diet with olive oil supplementation, the Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a low-fat diet for one year. At the end of the study, patients given either the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or the diet supplemented with olive oil lost a significant amount of weight compared to their initial weight.

Potential Benefits of Olive Oil to Lose Weight

Blood sugar and insulin levels affect body weight. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. In insulin resistance[4], tissues and organs’ response to the hormone insulin is decreased, which results in high insulin and blood sugar levels. It may cause diabetes if it is left untreated.

A meta-analysis[5] examined the association between olive oil intake and type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk. Patients who included olive oil in their diets (compared to low-fat diets) had a significant reduction in HbA1c, a biomarker for long-term glucose control. The analysis also showed that a 10 gram (g) daily increase in olive oil consumption was significantly associated with a reduced risk of T2D by 9%. Up to 15-20 g daily olive oil intake decreased T2D risk by 13%. 

Olive oil-rich diets may contribute to weight management via their effects on blood glucose and insulin levels. 

How to Use Olive Oil For Weight Loss

Healthy and sustainable weight loss can not be achieved by eating excessive amounts of certain foods, including olive oil. You need a healthy and balanced nutrition plan individualized with your nutritional and caloric requirements. The Mediterranean diet is one of the diets recommended by health authorities[6], and it is rich in olive oil. In addition to adding olive oil to your diet, you should choose to eat 

  • Whole grains
  • Legumes and beans
  • Vegetables and fruits 
  • Non-tropical vegetable oils rich in monounsaturated fatty acids
  • Fish, poultry
  • Low-fat dairy and dairy products

Over

  • Products with added sugar such as sugary beverages, cookies, fruit juices
  • High sodium food
  • Ultra-processed foods – processed meats, packaged products
  • Refined carbohydrates 

According to the American Heart Association (AHA)[6], eating style as mentioned earlier supports your health by preventing heart diseases and reducing the risk of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and blood pressure, which are better indicators of health than the number on the scale. Of course, there are recommendations for a healthy weight range.

However, not all bodies are the same, and there is not an exact healthy number of kgs that suits everyone perfectly. 

How to Choose ‘Right’ Olive Oil

Have you ever been confused when buying olive oil? What do terms like “cold pressed,” “pure,” “light,” “extra virgin,” and “classic” mean?  Here are some insights from the North American Olive Oil Association[7]:

  • The healthiest olive oil is extra virgin olive oil because it contains the highest amount of antioxidant molecules called polyphenols.
  • The taste of olive oil changes based on the place the olives are harvested when ripe, harvest time, and processing techniques. Flavor can be mild to intense and peppery to buttery. You may see labels like “first press” or “cold pressed” on extra virgin olive oils. These labels indicate that no heat or chemicals are used when processing olives. Actually, whether they indicate it or not, extra virgin olive oil is produced without heat. 
  • ‘Olive oil is different from ‘extra virgin olive oil’. Olive oil is a mix of refined olive oil and virgin or extra virgin olive oil. Thus its taste is less strong with a mild flavor. Some labels for olive oil are ‘classic’ or ‘pure.’ If labels say ‘light flavor’ or ‘light tasting,’ they are olive oils mixed with very little virgin olive oil
  • Fresher is better for olive oil. You can check harvest time for the olive oil’s age. But looking at the “ best by ” date is recommended since many factors such as type and quality of olives as well as harvesting method affect the shelf life. 

How Much Olive Oil Per Day to Lose Weight?

Drinking olive oil for weight loss is getting popular. However, you don’t have to drink plain olive oil to potentially promote weight loss. Just make olive oil a part of your daily diet. You can consume olive oil by cooking with it, adding sauces, dressings, and so on. 

Fat contains high calories; thus, all fats, even the healthiest ones, should be consumed in moderation, especially if you are on a weight loss plan.  A healthy and balanced diet[8] should contain between 20-35% of total energy intake as fat. Fats are grouped as healthy (unsaturated fats) and unhealthy (saturated and trans fats). Try to choose unsaturated fat sources[9] such as 

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil 
  • Peanut oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Fish

2 Olive Oil Recipes to Enhance Healthy Weight Loss

Zucchini Pancakes

olive oil for weight loss

Did someone say nutritious pancakes[10]? Zucchini pancakes are great for a fresh summer meal and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For 12 pancakes, you need

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 6-8 oz feta cheese
  • Salt and herbs 
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying

First, grate zucchinis, mix with salt, and leave it for a few minutes. Then, squeeze excess water and mix dried zucchini with eggs, flour, herbs, and feta until evenly distributed. Medium-high heat a pan with extra-virgin olive oil ( EVOO). After heating, drop a spoonful of zucchini mix and cook until it is golden brown. It is ready to serve with sour cream.

EVOO Oatmeal 

olive oil for weight loss

Oatmeal[11] is an easy breakfast with high fiber. It is usually eaten with a protein source such as milk or greek yogurt. Putting olive oil in oatmeal increases the taste and the meal fat content. Hence, it makes it more fulfilling and satisfying. You just need: 

  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup milk, greek yogurt, or water
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp maple syrup or honey
  • Fruit and nuts – could be berries, bananas, walnuts, almonds

Mix all and simple, yet energy-boosting, oatmeal is ready.

Olive oil is a very versatile oil that can be used for cooking any food. It is healthy because its smoking point[12] is high; EVOO is the most stable cooking oil. Besides these recipes, olive oil can be used in salad dressings, pasta sauces, and fruit salads.

Conclusion

Extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats (one of the healthy fats) with potential health benefits for preventing high blood sugar, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. 

Olive oil may promote weight loss if chosen in place of unhealthy fats, such as trans and saturated fatty acids. However, focusing on one food or food group cannot achieve healthy weight loss. You need a well-planned, balanced nutrition program that matches your nutritional and caloric needs for sustainable weight loss. 

If you’re hesitant about your weight and nutrition plan, you can get help from a doctor and registered dietitian to assist you in healthy eating for weight loss.


+ 12 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Aoopa.org. (2022). American Olive Oil Producers Association. [online] Available at: http://aoopa.org/olive-oil-101
  2. www.heart.org. (2017). Monounsaturated Fat. [online] Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/monounsaturated-fats
  3. Lasa, A., Miranda, J., Bulló, M., Casas, R., Salas-Salvadó, J., Larretxi, I., Estruch, R., Ruiz-Gutiérrez, V. and Portillo, M.P. (2014). Comparative effect of two Mediterranean diets versus a low-fat diet on glycaemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 68(7), pp.767–772. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.1.
  4. CDC (2019). Insulin Resistance and Diabetes. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/insulin-resistance.html
  5. Schwingshackl, L., Lampousi, A-M., Portillo, M.P., Romaguera, D., Hoffmann, G. and Boeing, H. (2017). Olive oil in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies and intervention trials. Nutrition & Diabetes, [online] 7(4), pp.e262–e262. doi:10.1038/nutd.2017.12.
  6. www.heart.org. (2020). What is the Mediterranean Diet? [online] Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/mediterranean-diet
  7. About Olive Oil (2015). Olive Oil Labels – Learn the Lingo. [online] Aboutoliveoil.org. Available at: https://www.aboutoliveoil.org/olive-oil-labels-learn-the-lingo
  8. Dietary Reference Intakes. (2006). [online] Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/11537.
  9. www.heart.org. (2022). 4 Ways to Get Good Fats Infographic. [online] Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/4-ways-to-get-good-fats-infographic
  10. About Olive Oil (2020). Zucchini Pancakes. [online] Aboutoliveoil.org. Available at: https://www.aboutoliveoil.org/zucchini-pancakes
  11. About Olive Oil (2019). Optimize Your Morning with EVOO Oatmeal. [online] Aboutoliveoil.org. Available at: https://www.aboutoliveoil.org/optimize-your-morning-with-evoo-oatmeal
  12. About Olive Oil (2016). Olive Oil Myths vs Facts. [online] Aboutoliveoil.org. Available at: https://www.aboutoliveoil.org/olive-oil-myths-facts‌

Medically reviewed by:

Merve Ceylan is a beginner nutrition & health writer yet a professional dietitian with a particular curiosity in the healthcare business. Merve believes that every person should have a solid grasp of their nutrition and health status to live the best life.

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