What am I talking about?
Not super exciting I know, but it has been proven to be good for your heart.
And that IS exciting, because heart disease is the number one killer of women in the UK.
So anything that’s been proven to lower that risk is worth knowing about.
We all know olive oil is a healthy fat…
But should we use it in our diets if we are trying to lose weight?
The answer, as with most things, is ‘it depends’.
Hopefully the info below will help you decide what’s best for you.
Have you ever seen the ‘Trust me, I’m a Doctor’ program?
Love that show 🙂
They do lots of interesting experiments around health, food and exercise, and the one last week had a feature on olive oil.
They did an experiment where participants had to eat or drink 20ml of raw olive oil every day for 6 weeks.
By 3 weeks their average risk measures for coronary artery disease had fallen dramatically, and by 6 weeks they’d fallen even further.
Big success for olive oil, and the doctors on the program recommended we should all take 20ml per day to reduce our risk of heart disease.
But isn’t it full of fat and calories?
Well, yes. It is GOOD fat that’s ideally good to eat. But it’s still fat that has a lot of calories, that could hinder your weight loss if you just add it in on top of everything else you eat.
20ml (just over a tablespoon) will give you about 160 calories. If you’re a woman trying to lose weight, that’s probably around 10% of your total daily calorie needs. And it won’t leave you feeling very full.
A great option would be to include olive oil in place of other fats or less quality foods.
Cutting out biscuits with your tea, having a cup of tea instead of a latte at Starbucks, or swapping some carbs for more vegetables at dinner could all save you the 160 calories you’d need.
If you eat sausages, you could try swapping to chicken or turkey sausages. Or have less takeaways (or pick less calorific takeaway options) and save a chunk of calories in one go.
If that sounds like something you could do, awesome!
The recommendation is to have it cold (i.e. don’t cook with it as this can destroy some of the nutritional properties) so you could try a tablespoon on your salad or over your vegetables at dinner.
Olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar and a bit of salt and pepper makes a really tasty dressing.
Or if you’re a little more strange some people in the experiment drank it raw or stirred it into their porridge…
If you’re not keen on olive oil or not wanting to remove anything from your diet to fit it in, don’t worry. It’s important to look at the big picture.
If you are overweight, getting to a healthy weight will dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease anyway, however you do it. So if you’d rather ‘spend’ the olive oil calories on a different type of food that leaves you feeling more full, that’s fine.
Perhaps you could just include it on days where it fits with what you’re having and you’re confident you won’t over-consume calories.
Either way, eating MOSTLY healthy foods that you like (with a bit of whatever unhealthy stuff you fancy), being active, and maintaining a healthy weight are the most important factors to living a long and healthy life.
Hope that helps.
P.S. – the experiment found that any type of olive oil still gives you the same benefits, so no need to spend loads of money on extra virgin or the more expensive stuff – plain old olive oil still does the job (although extra virgin means that no chemicals are involved in the extraction process, so it’s up to you).
Have a great day and as always, let me know if I can help you with anything.