Do Fatty Acids in Olive Oil Help With Weight Loss?

Do you ever feel hungry after eating a meal? Do you ever end up eating more after a meal because it wasn’t satiating enough? Well, there’s a simple solution to make your meals more satiating, mitigate your hunger, and manage your food intake. It’s fat – more specifically, healthy fatty acids! Fatty acids are components that have been shown to increase satiety and promote weight management. And they’re found in abundance in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Let’s dig deeper into what fatty acids are and how they affect weight loss.

Fatty Acids, Satiety, and Weight

EVOO is a great source of healthy fats and fatty acids. And don’t let the name “fatty acids” fool you, because many of these acids actually aid in fat loss, weight loss, and decreased hunger. These acids are created after our bodies consume, digest, and break down fats. The main types of fatty acids are saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. In an article by Shatha Hammand and Peter Jones, they stated that “different fatty acids (FA) may vary in their obesity-inducing effect by directing the metabolism toward a pathway of either oxidation or storage...as well as by influencing satiety and appetite sensations” (2). Fatty acids have been proven to increase satiety levels or fullness, which leads to decreased appetite and food intake. These factors are significant in reducing weight and promoting weight loss. In another article by P. Casas-Agustench et. al, authors mentioned an experiment by Burton-Freeman et. al where researchers “assessed the satiating effect of three test meals containing 30% fat energy (derived from almonds, almond oil or a mixture of safflower and corn oil) in healthy subjects. Participants experienced greater satiety after almond oil (rich in MUFA and PUFA) [monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids] and PUFA oil meals compared to the whole almond meal”(1). Based on this study, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to lead to greater satiation and appetite control.

Key Takeaway:

If consumed, certain Fatty Acids can increase satiety after meals, leading to Increased Weight Control.

Weight Loss Inducing Fatty Acids in Olive Oil

So, does EVOO contain the specific fatty acids that may increase satiety and promote weight loss? Well, it turns out that the fatty acids in extra virgin olive oil’s (EVOO) are very significant in increasing fullness and weight management. This is due to the fact that the majority of fatty acids in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) are monounsaturated. According to the article by P. Casas-Agustench et. al, “although rich in fat, [nuts and olive oil] have a low content of saturated fatty acids (SFA) but a high content of unsaturated fatty acids, mainly...monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) in olive oil” (1). Monounsaturated fats are significant because they are one of the fatty acids that contribute the most to weight loss. According to the article by Hammand and Jones, “[t]he consumption of long-chain saturated FA (SFA) and trans-FA has been linked to obesity and specifically to abdominal fat accumulation... while unsaturated FA, polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) and monounsaturated FA (MUFA), have been found to suppress appetite as well as increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation rate, therefore, induce favorable effects on regional and total fat mass, as compared to the former two types” (2). Since monounsaturated fatty acids are the most present type of fatty acids in olive oil, they contribute to greater results in weight management. In a study mentioned in the article by P. Casas-Agustench et. al, two groups were given different meals; one group consumed high amounts of fat from dairy, while the other group consumed high amounts of walnuts and olive oil. Results of the study showed that the group that was given meals high in walnuts and olive oil showed an increase in thermogenesis (the production of heat and burning of calories). The study suggested that “[t]he fact that MUFA [monounsaturated fatty acids] and PUFA [polyunsaturated fatty acids] are more effective in stimulating PPARa [peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha, a type of protein] than SFA38 [saturated fatty acids] could explain why after consumption of walnut and olive oil-rich meals like Mediterranean Diet Snacks thermogenesis increased more than after consumption of a meal rich in dairy fat” (1). Overall, many factors of monounsaturated fatty acids, which extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) contains, lead to increased calories burned and weight lost. Check out This Article to learn about basic information on the fats and fat-soluble vitamins in olive oil.

Key Takeaway:

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) contains a high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to increase thermogenesis, which helps with weight management and weight loss.

Satiating Meals High in Fatty Acids To Make

Since you now know that fatty acids are correlated with increased satiety levels and weight management, start implementing fatty acids into your diet! At first, it may seem difficult to incorporate more fatty acids into your meals but it’s really quite simple. Here is a list of five nourishing meals that you can make that are high in EVOO and fatty acids!

1. Neapolitan Pizza

Here is a recipe for Neapolitan Style Pizza – the original one. Like any famous dish, there are many versions featuring various ingredients and different steps. This is the recipe for the best homemade pizza.

2. Mediterranean Couscous Salad

This dish is perfect for the hot summer months. Mediterranean Couscous Salad is a complete meal packed with color and crunch, this vegetarian dish is sure to please. Serve it alone or as a side at your next BBQ or outdoor dinner party.

3. Lasagna alla Bolognese

Lasagna alla Bolognese is a typical Emilia Romagna dish. Despite its regional origin, it's a dish that's cooked all over the country. It's one of the symbols of Italian cuisine. The quality of ingredients is very important here –– meat needs to be mixed: both beef and pork, tomato sauce should be of high quality, and last but not least, the lasagna sheets need to be the best ones.

4. Orecchiette with Pumpkin and Bitter Greens

Pumpkin. Bitter greens. Fresh pasta. Topped with Italian extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and fresh pecorino — a perfect blend of sale e amaro (salt and bitterness). Orecchiette with Pumpkin and Bitter Greens is a simple dish encompasses the best things about Italian food – few, simple, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. It makes a great lunch or primi piatto (first plate) for dinner. Follow it with a piece of grilled white fish and pair it with chilled white wine.

5. Pollo e Limone (Lemon Chicken)

Pollo e Limone(Lemon Chicken) normally comprises of bits of chicken meat that are sautéed or battered and broiled and covered with a thick, sweet lemon-enhanced sauce. Similarly as with some other dish, this formula requires the most awesome aspect fixings. To make it more delectable and delightful, you need to search for solid chicken parts, ideally natural chicken yet not an unquestionable requirement. This dish is bright, fresh, healthy, and ready on your table in less than an hour!

The Bottom Line

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is a great source of fatty acids –– a major factor for why it is effective in weight management. It boosts satiety, which helps to suppress appetite after meals. Consume more fatty acids by incorporating Olive Oil & Mediterranean into Your Diet

Written by Cameron Kao

Reviewed by Kelly Powers, MA, RDN, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who takes a holistic approach to nutrition and health. Kelly is a recipe developer with a food blog highlighting whole foods, simple recipes, and her life in San Francisco. She’s the creator of 52 Weeks, a weekly meal plan program that helps users get back in the kitchen and feed themselves well. Kelly is also a co-founder of Olivaio.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I start incorporating olive oil into my diet?
A: Try switching out butter with olive oil as an easy step to incorporate olive oil into your diet. After making small substitutions, try adding olive oil in your salads or as a spread for your bread.

Q: What is the difference between regular olive oil and extra virgin olive oil?
A: Extra virgin olive oil is made from pure, cold-pressed olives, whereas regular olive oil is a blend, including both cold-pressed and processed oils.

Q: How much olive oil should I consume daily?
A: According to the U.S. Foods and Drug Administration, consuming 2 tablespoons of olive oil per day is enough to reap the health benefits of olive oil.