I’ve just read more interesting news about the health benefits of olive oil: Serving olive oil at meals may help you keep the pounds off, a new study indicates. Why? European researchers suggested the smell of olive oil can make you feel full.
They also studied the impact of other natural fats and oils on satisfying people’s appetites.
“Olive oil had the biggest satiety effect,” Peter Schieberle, professor at Technical University of Munich in Germany and director of the German Research Center for Food Chemistry, said. (Click here to see the news release about the study.)
“Our findings show that aroma is capable of regulating satiety,” added Schieberle, who spearheaded the study. “We hope that this work will pave the way for the development of more effective reduced-fat food products that are nonetheless satiating.”
The study follows another one a few weeks ago suggesting a Mediterranean diet – particularly one rich with extra virgin olive oil and nuts – lowers the risk of stroke and other heart problems by 30 percent among high-risk individuals. (Read blog post about the study.)
In the latest study, researchers at TUM and the University of Vienna tracked study participants over a three-month period while they ate 500 grams of low-fat yogurt daily. Some had olive oil added to the yogurt, while others had lard, butterfat, or rapeseed oil added. The yogurt was a supplement to the participants’ normal diet.
The olive oil group showed a higher concentration of a so-called satiety hormone – serotonin – in their blood. “Subjectively speaking, these participants also reported that they found the olive oil yogurt very filling,” Schieberle said.
During the study period, no member of this group recorded an increase in their body fat percentage or their weight.
The results surprised researchers, because rapeseed oil and olive oil contain similar fatty acids. So they next focused on the aroma compounds in olive oil. In the study’s second part, a group of participants was given yogurt with olive oil aroma extracts and a control group was given plain yogurt.
“The results were conclusive,” the news release noted. The calorie intake for the olive oil group stayed the same. The control group, by contrast, consumed an extra 176 kilocalories per day.
“The aroma group adapted their eating habits – but the control group participants were obviously not able to do likewise,” Schieberle said. “We also found that in comparison to the other group, the control group had less of the satiety hormone serotonin in their blood.”