Struggling with weight loss? 3 surprising findings about how olive oil can help

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Results of a study show olive oil could help with weight loss and curb hunger. According to the findings, natural oils have the ability to help us feel full after eating. Consuming fewer calories is recommended for losing weight and avoiding weight gain, but until now, researchers say they were not sure if lower calorie foods might simply drive us to eat more from feelings of hunger.

Olive oil boost satiety hormones to stave off hunger

Researchers at Technische Universität München specifically wanted to find out if and how olive oil and other healthy fats could help reduce hunger or cause weight gain, which has not been clear.

For the study, Prof. Veronika Somoz and Prof. Peter Schieberle at the University of Vienna looked at four types of fats: lard, butterfat, rapeseed and olive oil.

Over a three-month period, study participants ate yogurt supplemented with one of the four fats along with their usual diet.

Researchers were surprised at the finding because rapeseed and olive oil are similar. It turns out olive oil boosted the hormone serotonin that is associated with feelings of fullness after eating.

Prof. Schieberle said in a press release, “The findings surprised us,” admits Schieberle, “because rapeseed oil and olive oil contain similar fatty acids.”

Aroma of olive oil helped reduce calorie intake

Next, the researchers looked at whether olive oil might help satisfy hunger from its aroma. A popular weight loss product currently on the market touts its effectiveness because it interferes with food smells to aid weight loss.

One group of participants was given yogurt with olive oil aroma and the other plain yogurt.

Compared to the olive oil group, the control group consumed more calories a day, in results the researchers say were “conclusive”. The olive oil group’s calorie intake stayed the same.


Olive oil slows glucose absorption

A third finding from the study is how olive oil affects blood sugar levels. When glucose levels fall in the bloodstream, we get hungry.

For their study, researchers looked at what aromas in olive oil have the biggest impact on slowing glucose absorption.

Substances isolated in the oils from Spain, Greece, Italy and Australia included Hexanal and E2-Hexenal. The highest level of the substances was found in Italian olive oil.

If you have not added olive oil to your diet, consider the study results showing it could aid weight loss. You can take the oil by the spoonful if you have trouble incorporating it into your meals.

The finding shows olive oil contains compounds that can slow absorption of glucose to keep us feeling full longer after meals and that aromas do have a role in aiding weight loss. Olive oil also has the ability to keep us from consuming more calories because it boosts levels of the satiety hormone serotonin.

It also supports a 2010 study showing the healthy oil helped women with breast cancer lose weight to help prevent recurrence of the disease. Women in the study were less likely to snack between meals.

Mary Flynn, PhD, RD, LDN, the study's lead author and a research dietitian at The Miriam Hospital, Providence RI conducted the study that also showed olive oil helped women lower their cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

If you have not added olive oil to your diet, consider the study results showing it could aid weight loss. You can take the oil by the spoonful if you have trouble incorporating it into your meals.


P. Schieberle, V. Somoza, M. Rubach, L. Scholl, M. Balzer
"Identifying substances that regulate satiety in oils and fats and improving low-fat foodstuffs by adding lipid compounds with a high satiety effect; Key findings of the DFG/AiF cluster project “Perception of fat content and regulating satiety: an approach to developing low-fat foodstuffs”, 2009-2012.

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