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How To Use Olive Oil For Weight Loss – Can Olive Oil Really Help You Lose Weight?

Olive oil plays a crucial role in the Mediterranean diet and has become an integral part of healthy eating habits worldwide. In the United States, a staggering 90 million gallons of olive oil are consumed annually. Extensive research on olive oil has revealed its potential to promote health benefits related to cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and certain types of cancer.

It is important to recognise that weight and body composition play a significant role in the development of these diseases. Therefore, a dietary approach that not only prevents weight gain but also supports the maintenance of a healthy weight can contribute to overall well-being. In this article we will explore the scientific aspects of using olive oil to shed excess pounds.

Is Olive Oil Effective For Weight Loss?

Contrary to popular belief, including healthy fats in your diet is essential to facilitate weight loss. It is important to moderate your intake of foods high in saturated fat and calories, as they are typically associated with unhealthy choices.

Instead, focus on including unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, in your diet to maintain a healthy balance of calories from the fat group.

Olive oil stands out for its remarkable monounsaturated fatty acid profile, making it a highly recommended choice for a healthy oil. Olive oil may indirectly contribute to weight loss by influencing blood glucose levels and insulin response.

Where Does Olive Oil Actually Come From?

Olive oil, often called liquid gold, comes from the lush groves of olive trees that dot the Mediterranean landscape. These ancient trees, with their silvery green leaves and gnarled trunks, bear fruit that is carefully harvested and pressed to extract the precious oil. The process is a labour of love, rooted in tradition and a deep connection to the land.

What Are The Ingredients That Make Olive Oil So Healthy?

The health benefits of olive oil are a delightful combination of nature’s finest ingredients. In particular, extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid, which promotes heart health and reduces bad cholesterol.

Its antioxidant content, including vitamin E and polyphenols, fights free radicals, slowing the ageing process and reducing the risk of chronic disease. Its anti-inflammatory properties help alleviate conditions such as arthritis, while the phytonutrients in olive oil promote general wellbeing. This golden elixir isn’t just a kitchen staple, it’s a tasteful embodiment of good health.

The Effect Of Olive Oil On Weight Loss

Effect of olive oil image

A study of diabetics looked at the effects of three diets over the course of a year: the Mediterranean diet with olive oil and mixed nuts, a low-fat diet and a diet enriched with olive oil. The results were compelling: patients who followed either the Mediterranean diet with nuts or the diet with added olive oil experienced a significant weight loss compared to their initial body weight.

The relationship between body weight and blood glucose levels is significant, with insulin playing a key role in regulating blood glucose. Insulin resistance, characterised by reduced responsiveness of tissues and organs to insulin, leads to elevated insulin and blood glucose levels. If left untreated, it can lead to diabetes.

A comprehensive meta-analysis examined the relationship between olive oil consumption and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). The results showed that people who included olive oil in their diet had a significant reduction in HbA1c levels, a key biomarker of long-term glucose control, compared with those who consumed a low-fat diet.

In addition, the analysis showed that a daily increase of 10 grams of olive oil was significantly associated with a 9% reduction in the risk of developing T2D. Consuming up to 15-20 grams of olive oil daily was associated with a 13% reduction in the risk of T2D. It appears that a diet rich in olive oil may contribute to effective weight management through its beneficial effects on blood glucose and insulin levels.

Using Olive Oil For Effective Weight Loss

Achieving sustainable and healthy weight loss is not about consuming excessive amounts of any single food, including olive oil. It requires the adoption of a well-rounded and personalised nutrition plan that meets your specific nutrient and calorie needs.

One of the most highly recommended diets endorsed by health authorities is the Mediterranean diet, known for its inclusion of olive oil. In addition to incorporating olive oil into your diet, it is important to make mindful choices by including foods known for their health benefits and fat-burning properties, such as:

  • Whole grains
  • Legumes and beans
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Non-tropical vegetable oils rich in monounsaturated fats
  • Fish and poultry
  • Low-fat milk and milk products

By incorporating these nutrient-rich options into your diet along with olive oil, you can create a balanced and effective approach to weight management that prioritises both your health and weight loss goals.

Foods To Avoid:

  • Products with added sugar: These include sugary drinks, biscuits and fruit juices.
  • Foods high in sodium: Limit your intake of foods high in sodium.
  • Ultra-processed foods: Avoid processed meats and packaged foods.
  • Refined carbohydrates: Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates such as white bread and sugary cereals.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), following the above dietary patterns not only promotes overall health, but also helps prevent heart disease. It reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are more accurate indicators of health than simply focusing on the number on the scale.

It’s important to note that although there are recommended healthy weight ranges, everyone’s body is unique and there is no one ideal weight in kilograms. The main goal of losing weight should be to feel better and healthier.

Using Olive Oil For Weight Loss: Recommended Daily Intake

The idea of using plain olive oil to lose weight has gained popularity, but you don’t have to resort to this extreme measure. Instead, you can incorporate olive oil into your daily diet in a variety of ways, including cooking with it, adding it to sauces and dressings, and more. It’s important to remember that fats, even the healthiest ones, are high in calories, so they should be eaten in moderation, especially if you’re actively trying to lose weight.

A balanced diet typically includes a fat intake of about 20-35% of total daily energy intake. It’s important to distinguish between healthy fats (unsaturated fats) and unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats). When making choices, choose sources of unsaturated fats such as:

  • Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Grape Seed Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Tree Nuts
  • Fish

Choosing The Best Olive Oil For Weight Loss

Are you ever confused when it comes to choosing the right olive oil? The terminology on olive oil labels such as ‘cold pressed’, ‘pure’, ‘light’, ‘extra virgin’ and ‘classic’ can be confusing. Let’s demystify the choices:

  • Extra virgin olive oil: This is considered the healthiest type of olive oil because it contains the highest concentration of antioxidant polyphenols.
  • The flavour of extra virgin olive oil varies, depending on factors such as the origin of the olives, their ripeness at harvest and the processing methods used. It can range from mild to intense and from peppery to buttery. Look for labels such as ‘first press’ or ‘cold pressed’, which indicate that no heat or chemicals have been used during processing. In fact, all extra virgin olive oils are produced without heat.
  • Olive oil: Unlike extra virgin olive oil, regular “olive oil” is a blend of refined olive oil and virgin or extra virgin olive oil. This gives it a milder flavour. Some labels you may come across for olive oil include “classic” or “pure”. If the label says ‘light flavour’ or ‘light tasting’, it means it contains very little virgin olive oil.
  • Freshness matters: When it comes to olive oil, fresher is better. You can tell the age of the oil by looking at the harvest date. However, it’s also wise to look at the ‘use by’ date, as several factors, including olive variety, quality and harvesting techniques, affect the shelf life of the oil.

In summary, for weight loss, choose extra virgin olive oil for its rich polyphenol content. Pay attention to the flavour profile that suits your preferences and choose oils labelled “cold pressed” or “first press” for purity. Always look for freshness by checking both the harvest date and the ‘best before’ date. By making informed choices, you can ensure you’re getting the best olive oil for your health and weight loss goals.

Where Should I Buy My Olive Oil?

When it comes to choosing where to buy your olive oil, it’s all about trust and authenticity. Look for reputable sources such as local farmers’ markets or speciality shops, where you can often find artisanal producers who take pride in their craft. Look for certifications such as ‘extra virgin’ and check for a harvest date on the label to ensure freshness.

Consider exploring online options from trusted brands, but always read customer reviews for authenticity. Ultimately, the best place to buy your olive oil is where you can connect with the producers and trust the quality, ensuring that you bring home a little piece of Mediterranean magic.

Two Delicious Olive Oil-based Weight Loss Recipes

EVOO Enhanced Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a convenient, fibre-rich breakfast choice. It is usually paired with a protein source such as milk or Greek yoghurt. Incorporating olive oil into your oatmeal will enhance both its flavour and fat content, making it more filling and satisfying. You will need:

  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup milk, Greek yoghurt or water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • Mixed fruit and nuts, such as berries, bananas, walnuts and almonds

Mix all the ingredients together and voila! You have a simple but invigorating oatmeal. Olive oil is an extremely versatile cooking oil, suitable for a wide range of culinary applications. Its high smoke point makes it a health-conscious choice, and EVOO stands out as the most stable cooking oil. Beyond these recipes, olive oil can be used to create delicious salad dressings, enrich pasta sauces and enhance the appeal of fruit salads.

Zucchini Pancakes

Who wants some nutritious (and healthy) pancakes? Zucchini pancakes make a delicious summer meal that’s great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. To make a batch of 12 pancakes, you’ll need:

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

Here’s how to make them: Start by grating the courgettes, adding a pinch of salt and leaving to soak for a few minutes. Then squeeze out any excess water and mix the dried courgettes with the eggs, flour, herbs of choice and crumbled feta cheese to make a smooth mixture.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat with a little extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). When hot, spoon the courgette mixture into the pan and cook until golden brown. They are now ready to serve, ideally with a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Olive Oil?

While olive oil is known for its many health benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects of overconsumption. Excessive consumption of olive oil can lead to weight gain due to its calorie content, so moderation is key, especially if you’re watching your weight.

Some people may experience digestive problems such as diarrhoea or upset stomach if they consume large amounts in a short time. In rare cases, people may also develop an allergy to olives or olive oil, causing symptoms such as itching or rashes. To get the full benefits of olive oil, it’s best to consume it in balanced amounts as part of a healthy diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it true that olive oil can help with weight loss?

Yes, olive oil can be a beneficial part of a weight loss plan. It contains monounsaturated fats, which are considered healthy fats and can help with weight management.

How does olive oil help with weight loss?

Olive oil can help you feel fuller and more satisfied, reducing your overall calorie intake. It can also be a healthier alternative to the saturated and trans fats commonly found in other cooking oils and fats.

What type of olive oil is best for weight loss?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is often recommended for its quality and purity. It retains more of the natural antioxidants and nutrients that can support your overall health and weight management.

Are there specific recipes or meal plans that incorporate olive oil for weight loss?

Yes, there are several recipes and Mediterranean-style meal plans that emphasise the use of olive oil along with whole grains, vegetables, lean proteins and fruits for a balanced approach to weight management.

Are there any side effects or considerations when using olive oil for weight loss?

Olive oil is generally safe for most people. However, it is high in calories and excessive consumption may lead to weight gain. People with certain medical conditions should consult a health professional before making significant changes to their diet.


In summary, extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, a type of healthy fat that offers potential health benefits, including the prevention of high blood sugar, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. While including olive oil in your diet can help you lose weight, it’s important to remember that a healthy weight loss strategy shouldn’t focus solely on one food or food group.

Achieving sustainable weight loss requires a well-planned, balanced nutrition programme that is tailored to your individual nutrient and calorie needs. If you have any concerns about your weight and nutrition plan, it is a good idea to consult a healthcare professional and a registered dietitian who can provide expert assistance in developing a healthy eating plan tailored to your weight loss goals.


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  2. CDC (2022). Insulin Resistance and Diabetes. Read article
  3. Lukas Schwingshackl, Anna-Maria Lampousi, Portillo, M.P., Romaguera, D., Hoffmann, G.W. 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. Read article
  4. Mazzocchi, A., Leone, L., Agostoni, C. and Pali-Schöll, I. (2019). The Secrets of the Mediterranean Diet. Does [Only] Olive Oil Matter? Read article
  5. Liu, A., Ford, N.A., Hu, F.B., Zelman, K.M., Dariush Mozaffarian and Kris-Etherton, P.M. (2017). A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion. Read article
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Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian & Exercise Nutrition Coach at Catholic Medical Center Brooklyn Queens

Cecilia Lam has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and is a certified nutritionist-dietitian and exercise nutrition coach. She holds a Precision Nutrition coaching certification and an International Fitness Certification from the International Sports Sciences Association. With ten years of experience in the health and fitness industry, complemented by four years in clinical settings, Cecilia has successfully partnered with a diverse range of clients and organizations worldwide.

Health Coach

Ashley Martinez is a writer specializing in thought leadership articles on healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. Her work has been published in numerous healthcare magazines that reflect her expertise. With a keen eye for the latest trends and developments in the medical field, Ashley brings a depth of knowledge and insight that informs and inspires her readers. Her commitment to excellence and passion for making a difference in the lives of others shines through in every piece she writes, making her a valuable contributor to the healthcare discourse.


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