There’s plenty of hype surrounding olive oil in the world of fad diets. But although olive oil is far more nutritious than many other dietary supplements made with artificial ingredients, it’s no weight loss guarantee. In fact, if you take 3 tbsp. of it every day on top of your regular diet, you’re more likely to gain weight than lose it.
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Dietary supplements and weight loss aids traditionally tout their low calorie amounts, but olive oil makes no such claims. Three tbsp. of the oil has about 360 calories and 40.5 g of fat, 5.5 g of which are saturated. Those are hefty amounts for a potential weight loss aid and may be even more than you’d find in a small meal.
Proponents of olive oil herald its standout health benefits and nutritional properties. Despite its high fat content, the majority of the fat in the oil is monounsaturated. According to MayoClinic.com preventive medicine specialist Donald Hensrud, M.D., monounsaturated fat can lower your risk of heart disease and high cholesterol, help control blood clotting and stabilize blood sugar levels. The high amount of fat in 3 tbsp. of oil may also have a satiating effect, helping to curb your hunger and limit the total number of calories you eat in a day.
Regardless of the foods you choose to include in a weight loss plan, no one food can make or break your diet because the progress you make is a matter of calorie totals. The only proven method for weight loss is to consistently burn more calories than you take in. It may be hard to do that by taking 3 tbsp. of olive oil every day, even if you limit the other portions of foods you eat. If you aren’t active enough to burn those extra calories, your body will store them as fat, even though they come from a food with health benefits.
Olive oil can be a healthy, effective part of a weight loss plan, but it’s not a guaranteed method on its own, and there’s no need to take a certain amount of it each day. For best results, exercise regularly and have olive oil along with other nutritious, natural, low-calorie foods. Before you make any significant changes to your regular eating plan, talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian.