Olives, whether green or black, are rich in healthy fats. With their salty taste and meaty texture, they qualify as a low-calorie snack. All olives must be cured before they can be eaten; fully ripe olives turn a black color, while unripe olives are cured while still green. Substituting olives for a higher-calorie snack can help you lose weight, and olives contain natural compounds that may help prevent longterm weight gain. However, remember that olives will only make up a small part of a healthy balanced diet.
Low in Calories
A 1-ounce serving of green olives, roughly 8 olives, has 31 calories per serving, and a 1-ounce serving of black olives, which is about 7 large olives, has 35 calories. Compared to other salty snack foods, such as flavored potato chips with 151 calories per 1-ounce serving, olives are the clear low-calorie winner. Substitute olives for potato chips to achieve a calorie deficit of 116 calories for black olives and 120 calories for green olives. Over time, this deficit will add up. Eating olives twice a week for a year in place of chips could potentially help you lose an average of 3 1/2 pounds.
Olives contain a high amount of unsaturated fats, with 2.7 grams out of 3.3 grams of total fat for a 1-ounce serving of green or black olives. Consuming unsaturated fats can help your overall health if you eat them in place of saturated or trans fats, as they can help reduce plaque buildup and bad cholesterol levels. A 2013 issue of "Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome" found that a high-fat diet that was rich in olive oil rather than saturated fat or margarine led to less weight gain and low cholesterol levels.
May Reduce Weight Gain
A 2011 study in the "European Journal of Endocrinology" found that a diet high in olive oil rather than other fats led to less weight gain. The human study, conducted on children over the course of a year, found that olive oil consumption, in place of other fats, led to less weight gain and lower body fat percentages. Researchers concluded that this was because of the high mono-unsaturated fatty acid content in olives, and that a diet high in MUFAs may help reduce the chances of obesity.
Including Olives in Your Diet
Mix chopped green or black olives into pasta sauce, using it in place of other high-fat ingredients, such as Parmesan cheese or cream. The richness of the olives will give a boost of flavor to the sauce with minimal calories. Or blend together olives to create a thick paste -- or tapenade -- which can be used as a sauce for fish or steak, or as a topping on a slice of whole grain bread. Olives can help you meet part of your vegetable intake requirement, but you still need to follow a balanced diet that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat protein and dairy products to ensure a healthy weight loss plan.
- Delallo: Olive Encyclopedia
- Delallo: Olive FAQ
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Olives, Pickled, Green
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Olives, Ripe
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Snacks, Potato Chips, Sour Cream and Onion Flavor
- Go Ask Alice!: How Many Calories Does It Take To Lose One Pound?
- American Heart Association: Polyunsaturated Fats
- American Heart Association: Monounsaturated Fats
- Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome: The Long-Term Ingestion of a Diet High in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Produces Obesity and Insulin Resistance But Protects Endothelial Function in Rats - A Preliminary Study
- European Journal of Endocrinology: Children Whose Diet Contained Olive Oil Had a Lower Likelihood of Increasing Their Body Mass Index Z-Score Over 1 Year