No “super­food” has mag­i­cal prop­er­ties, but some are objec­tive­ly health­i­er than oth­ers, as sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence shows.

One of the most inter­est­ing para­dox­es in nutri­tion is olive oil. It is a pure fat con­sist­ing of mono­sat­u­rat­ed (73%), sat­u­rat­ed (14%) and polyun­sat­u­rat­ed (11%) fat­ty acids; One table­spoon con­tains 119 calo­ries. But researchers (as well as not the most sci­en­tif­ic prac­ti­tion­ers from dif­fer­ent coun­tries) have found that includ­ing olive oil in the diet — in rea­son­able dos­es, of course — pro­motes weight loss.

Research Review

Take a look at just a few stud­ies that cor­re­late extra vir­gin olive oil (OVO) with fat loss:

  • A 2017 study found that over­weight women who took 25 ml (about 1.7 table­spoons) of OMPO in their break­fast lost more weight than par­tic­i­pants who con­sumed the same amount of soy­bean oil.
  • A 2006 study that fol­lowed more than 7,000 col­lege stu­dents for two years found that eat­ing more OMPO (while fol­low­ing a clas­sic Mediter­ranean diet) did not lead to weight gain.
  • In a 2008 study, 322 mod­er­ate­ly obese peo­ple were fol­lowed for two years. Those who ate a Mediter­ranean diet high in OMPO lost almost twice as much weight as those who ate a low-fat diet.
  • A 2020 study of 23 peo­ple found that sup­ple­ment­ing with OMPO for two months result­ed in weight loss and a reduc­tion in waist cir­cum­fer­ence.
  • A 2021 study that fol­lowed 49 sub­jects for two years found that OMPO sup­ple­men­ta­tion result­ed in increased brown adi­pose tis­sue (BAT) activ­i­ty in lean peo­ple, but not in over­weight and obese peo­ple.

How is all this possible?

One the­o­ry is that the ole­ic acid in OMPO reg­u­lates the pro­duc­tion of the SCD1 enzyme, which is asso­ci­at­ed with weight loss.

Accord­ing to anoth­er hypoth­e­sis, oleo­can­thal (the same polyphe­nol that caus­es a burn­ing sen­sa­tion in the throat when tak­ing oil) is a pow­er­ful non-steroidal anti-inflam­ma­to­ry agent and soft­ens oxida­tive reac­tions in the body, pos­i­tive­ly affect­ing metab­o­lism, which leads to less fat gain or even loss in obese peo­ple.

But UMPO also helps lean peo­ple stay lean because the ole­ic acid it con­tains can stim­u­late brown adi­pose tis­sue (BAT). BAT is a type of fat that is more meta­bol­i­cal­ly active than its white coun­ter­part.

How to use this information

No one claims that olive oil is an elixir for slim­ness. How­ev­er, it does seem to help, so add it to your diet. For a healthy man, three table­spoons a day is enough; dis­trib­ute the oil through­out all meals:

  • Add to morn­ing oat­meal or pro­tein smooth­ie.
  • Dress your sal­ad instead of may­on­naise.
  • Pour it over the steamed veg­eta­bles.
  • Resource­ful Dan John advis­es sim­ply tak­ing a spoon­ful between meals to sup­press your appetite while diet­ing.

And even if you’re one of the two or three peo­ple in the world who aren’t inter­est­ed in los­ing weight, olive oil is still healthy and deserves its place in your diet.

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