Olive oil is not only good for you on several levels, it also helps you not gain weight by triggering a physical response.
Part of weight gain is not just the way our individual bodies process and store the food we eat but also in how much we take into our system. That's just simple cumulative math. The more you eat, the more weight you'll gain. The more unhealthy food you eat, the more unhealthy you become. But a new study shows that olive oil, the seemingly neverending fluidic cornucopia of things healthy, has another benefit. It triggers within the body a sensation that stops the individual from eating.
Science Daily reported March 14 that researchers at the Technische Universität München (TUM) under Prof. Peter Schieberle and at the University of Vienna under Prof. Veronika Somoza have found that olive oil is the best of four cooking substances -- rapeseed, lard, butterfat, and oil -- for giving an individual a feeling of fullness, of not having to continue to eat. In a three-month study, participants were given 500 mg of yoghurt infused with the various fats and oils to see how they responded to feeling satiated when eating.
"Olive oil had the biggest satiety effect," Schieberle noted. The professor is Head of the TUM Chair of Food Chemistry and Director of the German Research Center for Food Chemistry. He continued: "The olive oil group showed a higher concentration of the satiety hormone serotonin in their blood. Subjectively speaking, these participants also reported that they found the olive oil yoghurt very filling."
So filling, in fact, that not one member of the olive oil test group gain weight or see an increase in their body fat percentage.
Since olive oil and rapeseed oil contained much the same fatty acids, the researchers were surprised that the results weren't similar. In an attempt to pinpoint what might be the difference, they decided to concentrate on the aroma of the oils. In a separate study, one group was given the yoghurt while a second test group was given yoghurt infused with just olive oil aroma extracts.
It was discovered that while the amount of yoghurt consumed by the group eating the oil-infused yoghurt remained the same, the control group increased their yoghurt intake by 176 kilocalories per day.
The smell of olive oil made those who ate it feel more full, therefore causing them to consume less food.
"Our findings show that aroma is capable of regulating satiety," Schieberle concluded. "We hope that this work will pave the way for the development of more effective reduced-fat food products that are nonetheless satiating."
In using oils from Spain, Greece, Italy and Australia, scientists further discovered that two substances, Hexanal and E2-Hexenal, were most effective at inhibiting glucose absorption, a process that precipitates the body's desire to be fed. They found that the Italian olive oil contained higher levels of the two substances.
The reason olive oil is healthy is due to its abundance of certain fats the body needs. They are monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), which promote good health, as opposed to trans fats and saturated fats.
Olive oil, according to the Mayo Clinic, is believed to lower both total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, which in turn help lower the risk of heart disease. The oil also is believed to be help regulate blood sugar levels, which can help in the fight against diabetes. Research also suggests that it helps in normal blood clotting as well.
However, since a cup (8 oz.) of olive oil contains nearly all the fat and calories recommended daily, olive oil should be used sparingly. Still, the oil is also high in Vitamin E and K and both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Vitamin E promotes healthy skin, helps reduce problems with diabetes, and works to curtail visual impairment via macular degeneration. Vitamin K helps induce clotting of the blood, helps in treating weak bones, relieves itching, and helps expedite the healing of skin tissue. The Omegas are known as the "essential fatty acids" and are important in optimal brain function, metabolism regulation, hair growth, bone health, the overall healing process, maintaining energy levels, providing mood equilibrium, decreasing joint pain, and maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Of all the diets in the world, the peoples exposed to the Mediterranean diet and French cuisine seem to be the healthiest and the longest lived, according to AskMen.com. It should also be noted that it is in these areas that the most olive oil is produced and consumed.
And to think that much of it has to do with the aroma and that the smell of olive oil simply makes one feel more full when eating.
(photo credit: my friend, Creative Commons)
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