Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is made from cold-pressed olives, without being refined or treated with heat. It contains remarkable amounts of monounsaturated oleic acid, known for its potent antioxidant properties.
EVOO, being a part of a Mediterranean diet, has shown beneficial for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease in obese people.1 However, its effects on fat reduction remains unclear.
The purpose of this trial was to investigate the effects of an energy-restricted diet with extra virgin olive oil on health parameters in obese women.
It was a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted by researchers from the Federal University of Viçosa in Viçosa, Brazil. They published their results in the European Journal of Nutrition.
Participants were 41 women with excess body fat. Once they were randomly assigned to two groups, women received high-fat breakfasts, which contained two low-fat cookies and 300 mL of a milk-flavored drink with either 25 mL of soybean oil (the control group) or 25 mL of extra virgin olive oil (the EVOO group).
In addition, balanced, energy-restricted diets, non-Mediterranean were also prescribed to all participants by a nutritionist. The intervention lasted for nine weeks.
Various assessments, including anthropometric measurements and fasting blood, were done before and after the study.
Both groups showed reductions in body weight and body mass index (BMI) because of energy-restricted diets.
However, researchers observed an 80% higher fat loss in the EVOO group than in the control group.
Additionally, women in the EVVO group also experienced a reduction in diastolic blood pressure. There were no changes in systolic blood pressure.
What Does this Mean?
The results of this trial demonstrate that consuming extra virgin olive oil can reduce body fat and improve blood pressure. It is the first study showing olive oil's beneficial effects when not part of a Mediterranean diet.
Researchers suggest adding the oil to energy-restricted obesity treatment regimens for cardiovascular disease prevention.
- European Journal of Nutrition, Consumption of extra virgin olive oil improves body composition and blood pressure in women with excess body fat: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 2017
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (2019). Extra virgin olive oil: More than a healthy fat. Retrieved October 1, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30487558/