How Olive Oil Can Help You Lose Weight

There’s no doubt about the role of olive oil in a healthy diet — it’s nutritious and great at fighting diseases. But one of the intriguing aspects is its role in weight loss. Studies are newer when it comes to weight loss versus studies around health benefits and how olive oil can help prevent or heal certain illnesses.

While weight loss is often associated with restrictive diets and intense workout regimens, incorporating olive oil into your daily routine may be a delicious and effective way to lose or maintain weight. Of course, since our focus is on the Mediterranean diet and way of life, exercise, or being active, still plays an important role.


Table of contents:

How Can Olive Oil Help You Lose Weight?

Olive oil can help you lose weight thanks to several factors. Before we jump into them, olive oil is still a fat, so should be consumed in moderation. Consuming too much will end up making you put on weight. 

How much you can and should consume, will depend on factors like your age and how active you are. It will also depend on how much other fat is in your diet. As a very brief comparison, Greeks consume an average of at least five gallons (20 liters) per year, followed by Spain then Italy — whereas Americans consume an average of 0.25 gallons (1.1 liters) per year.

Olive oil bottles in a supermarket in Spain

Appetite Regulation

One of the ways that olive oil can contribute to weight loss is through its potential to regulate appetite. It’s been found that consuming olive oil instead of other oils in meals, leads to feeling fuller. This can help you reduce calorie intake over time, aiding in weight management.

Improved Metabolism

On top of that, olive oil can boost your metabolism, helping burn some of the calories you eat. It’s the polyphenols contained in olive oil that help this process because they’ve been proven to increase the number of calories that your body burns. Like we mentioned earlier though, there is a tipping point. Consuming mountains of olive oil will have the opposite effect and lead to weight gain.

Fat Burning and Storage

Olive oil may also influence the way the body stores and burns fat. A diet rich in monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil, helped reduce fat accumulation, particularly in the abdominal area. One study found that fat loss was approximately 80% higher in the group that was given extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) vs the group that didn’t consume it.

Hormonal Influence

Our hormones play a role in regulating appetite and metabolism. Olive oil may positively impact hormone levels related to weight management. For example, insulin is an essential hormone, and insulin resistance in the body has been linked to obesity. EVOO may help reduce insulin resistance, helping to keep the weight off and protecting against type 2 diabetes. 

How to Incorporate Olive Oil into Your Diet

If you’re new to olive oil, the oil to buy is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). It’s the healthiest due to the way it’s processed. It’s also the most expensive but a little goes a long way as long as you don’t deep fry with it which isn’t recommended anyway. 

Most experts recommend consuming it raw to preserve its nutritional properties and get the maximum health benefits. That doesn’t mean you can’t cook with it and it’s a stable oil for cooking at low temperatures. If you can, try swapping out other fats for olive oil as it’s still usually healthier, even if you’re cooking with it. 

If you like salads, an easy to way to start incorporating EVOO into your diet is drizzling it over a fresh salad or using it to make a dressing (like this 2-minute Mediterranean salad dressing). The added benefit of EVOO over less pure olive oils is the taste so it’s a win-win for your body and your tastebuds. 

If salads aren’t your thing, no worries, you can still get on board. Love pasta? Drizzle it over pasta or make a homemade basil pesto or garlic confit (which goes well with so many dishes). 

A small bowl of basil pesto.

Dips are another great way to use and enjoy olive oil. Melitzanosalata (Greek eggplant dip) is tasty, filling, and healthy. This Turkish beetroot yogurt dip served with roasted veg makes a colorful and delicious main meal or side dish, or dip your favorite veg into it. 

Verdict: Is EVOO a Magic Weight Loss Solution?

Hmmm, there likely isn’t a magic overnight solution that exists…that’s healthy. As part of a balanced diet though, EVOO can help you feel full and burn calories. This makes it a good ally for long-term weight loss and maintenance. 

It’s also a valuable addition to a healthy diet thanks to its nutritional properties and other health benefits it can lead to — and we think that’s pretty magical and definitely have our daily dose, every day, without fail. 

We hope you enjoy exploring different ways to include it in your diet!

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