It’s easy to conclude that any fat will make you gain weight, but that’s not necessarily the case. Not all fats have the same effect on your body. Different fats interact with your body in different ways. Some, such as olive oil, can help you to stay slim.
Olive oil, which features prominently in Mediterranean diets, is a healthy fat that can help you lose weight. In many reviews of best weight loss diets, the top programs are Mediterranean or Mediterranean-inspired. People who follow these types of diets often eat plenty of fish and veggies, which they cook with olive oil.
If anywhere from a quarter to a third of the calories in this type of diet come from fat, how can its followers stay slender? A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition this July described how and why cooking with moderate amounts of olive oil can help you stay slim.
Monounsaturated Fats vs. Polyunsaturated Fats
Which type of fat a person eats is one of the biggest factors in whether he or she will gain weight. Monounsaturated fats are found in foods like nuts, avocados and olive oil. They’re healthier than polyunsaturated fats, which are contained in foods like red meat and sunflower oil.
The study compared participants’ cooking habits and their weight statistics. The researchers took samples of the cooking oils that the participants used and determined whether they prepared their meals with olive oil or sunflower oil. The participants who used more olive oil (or a mixture that included olive oil) were healthier than those who used sunflower oil.
People who consume fewer polyunsaturated fats and more monounsaturated fats—particularly olive oil—are much less likely to be obese than people who don’t. And even though people who like to cook with olive oil might take in a slightly higher number of calories than people who don’t, they still will have a far lower chance of being overweight.
What Does Olive Oil Do?
According to the study, the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil reduce the risk of obesity in three main ways:
- Healthy fats help you feel full longer. The healthy fats in olive oil help to satisfy your hunger, so you’ll need to eat less (therefore consume fewer calories) throughout the day.
- Olive oil breaks down fat. Olive oil increases the break down the fat that is stored in the fat cells that make up fatty body mass. This process is called lipolysis. An increase in the rate of lipolysis is necessary when you want to reduce the percentage of your body fat.
- Regularly cooking with olive oil raises your metabolism. Olive oil provides a boost to your metabolic rate. With an elevated metabolism, you can burn more calories all the time—even when resting.
Olive Oil Helps Reduce Obesity
The study, which followed about 600 people of a wide range of ages, found that those who were regular consumers of olive oil weighed less than people who weren’t. Although both groups ate about the same number of calories, the people who prepared their meals with olive oil took in a higher ratio of mono-unsaturated to polyunsaturated fats. On the other hand, people who ate a greater proportion of polyunsaturated fats were much more likely to be obese.
Some people who follow a diet rich in olive oil could have different eating habits than those who don’t, including taking in more calories, but they’re still slimmer. They have a lower percentage of body fat, their metabolisms are higher, and they feel fuller after mealtime. Regularly cooking your meals with moderate amounts of olive oil could help you stay full, lose fat and burn more calories.
Article provided by Matt Papa is a biochemist who enjoys researching the benefits of-as well as cooking and eating- healthy food. In his leisure time he develops his website where he regularly posts a Medifast discount coupon, offered by a medically approved diet program, and coupons for Nutrisystem discount.