Does olive oil cause buildup of body fats?


Olive oil refers to a fat extracted from Oleaeuropaea. Oil is produced followingthe extraction of whole olives. Many countries use the oil, but itspecifically correlates to Mediterranean nations. Hence, it has beenthe main source of calories in traditional diets of the geographicarea. Olive oil has been advocated as better compared to other oiltypes due to its low fat content. It has concentrated monounsaturatedfat, and contains oleic acid, which are attributable to reducedlevels of blood cholesterol, as well as LDL cholesterol. In addition,monounsaturated fat do not reduce important HDL cholesterol, ortriglycerides, which is the case with polyunsaturated fat, which whentaken in high levels could reduce HDL cholesterol. However, theargument on if olive oil results in the accumulation of body fatsdepicts a salient gap in information relating to saturated andunsaturated fats. Fat is important in the body when consumed inmoderation. The paper is an argument of whether olive oil, despitebeing recognized as a healthy food, results in body fat buildup.

History of Olive Oil

The olive plant is indigenous to theMediterranean. Neolithic individuals gathered wild olives during theeighth millennium BC. Archeological research depicts that olives wereproduced to oil as early as 4500 BC in Canaan, currently Israel(Kapellakis, Tsagarakis &amp Crowther, 2008).Up to 1500BC, people living in regions around the Mediterraneanconcentrated on the cultivation of olive trees. The most ancientolive oil amphora is dated 3500BC, although manufacturing olive oilis presumed to have commenced prior to 4000BC (Kapellakis,Tsagarakis &amp Crowther, 2008). Growing theplant during the post-palatial era is linked with the economicdevelopment in regions within the Mediterranean. Egypt dynastiesprior to 2000BC purchased the oil from Syria, Canaan as well asCrete, as it was associated with affluence and trade. Historically,olive oil was mainly used as food products however, other widespreadapplications involve spiritual rituals, fuel and for making soapamong others (Kapellakis, Tsagarakis &amp Crowther, 2008).There are diverse olive oil varieties, each having a specific taste,texture, which makes the suitable or unsuitable for diverse uses likeuse in salads or direct eating.


The body requires both saturated andunsaturated fats to progress being healthy. Many dietary suggestionssuppose that, of the day-to-day fat intake, a great percentage shouldbe of unsaturated fats. This is because unsaturated fats areperceived to enhance proper cholesterol and assist in avoidingcardiovascular illness. Contrary, excessive consumption of saturatedfats is said to enhance poor cholesterol. Nonetheless, some studieshave found minimal proof for a great association amid the intake ofsaturated fats as well as cardiovascular illness. Since it isimprobable to eliminate either, saturated or unsaturated fats, it isnecessary to realize that their processing differs. Saturated fatshave more solid and comprise of a chemical structure, which is morefirmly packed. Excessive saturated fats frequently enhance badcholesterol (LDL), obstruct arteries, and augment the peril ofcardiovascular illness and events, like stroke and heart attacks.Polyunsaturated, as well as monounsaturated fats are supposed toenhance good cholesterol (HDL). This is achieved through assisting intransporting bad cholesterol to the liver, to undergo metabolism. Themajor kind of fat in all types of olive oil is monounsaturated fats(MUFA).

The AmericanHeart Association dietaryinstructions for healthy US grownups propose a diet, which avails 10%calories from saturated fats, 10% from polyunsaturated and up to 15%from monounsaturated (Penny, 1999). The proposition to minimizedietary fat to 30% calories is aimed at easing the cutback ofsaturated fats (Penny, 1999). It is also to assist in regulatingcalories and manage weight. Olive oil has a remarkable fat contentwith 75% of the fat being oleic acid (Penny, 1999). Research depictsthe effectiveness of monounsaturated fat to be alike to that ofpolyunsaturated fat in reducing the entire blood cholesterol, as wellas LDL cholesterol. In addition, MUFA does not lessen important HDLcholesterol or increase triglycerides, contrary to polyunsaturatedfat that when excessively taken might reduce HDL cholesterol.

Olive oil contains stanols and sterols, orphytosterols, which are compounds applicable in reducing bloodcholesterol. The compounds are available in minimal amounts in mostplant foods, and are traceable in enriched products like salads,juice and margarines. Phytosterols, when used as a food component inhigher levels than naturally available, reduces LDL cholesterol(Katan et al, 2003). Phytosterols move cholesterol from assortedmicelles and restrain cholesterol intake within the intestine lumen.Research depicts that taking 1.5 to 1.8 g of phytosterols dailyreduces cholesterol with 30 to 40%, with no impact on HDLcholesterol, as well as triglyceride levels (Jones et al, 2000). Itis probable since the compounds obstruct the intake of cholesterolfrom the digestive system. When taken in high doses of probably 2.2 gdaily, cholesterol accumulation drops by 60% (Richelle et al, 2004).As a reaction to reduced cholesterol, LDL receptor expressionenhances, leading to more clearance in the circulation of LDLcholesterol mixture.

It is believed that fat containing morecalories, compared to carbohydrates or protein, is linked to increasein body weight resulting in obesity (Bray &amp Popkin, 1998).Conversely, there is also convincing argument to depict that diet fatis not the main cause of gaining weight. Furthermore, fat qualitymight have a greater link to gaining weight than quantity. In view offat quality and particular impacts of diet fat acids for obese risk,proof from forthcoming group research have noted that MUFAconsumption, like olive oil, is unrelated to gaining weight or morewaist circumference. In a HealthProfessionals Study, which lastedfor nine years, replacing 2% energy of carbohydrates with MUFA wasunrelated to any alteration in waist fat gain (Koh-Banerjee et al2003). However, replacing with saturated fats resulted in more waistfat gain. In the similar manner, the Nurses’Health Study concluded thatconsuming MUFA or PUFA was not linked with gaining body weight,whereas saturated fatty acids (SFA) positively link to gaining weightfollowing an eight-year period of study (Field et al, 2007). Majorforthcoming research in the Mediterranean have depicted that hugeolive oil consumption, rich in MUFA were unrelated to gaining weightor the peril of obesity in the long run (Bes-Rastrollo et al, 2006).

In reference to human clinical experiments,research depicts that compared to diets having carbohydrates,participants resistant to insulin yet taking a MUFA diet,demonstrated enhanced fat oxidation levels as well as reduced abdomento leg adipose ratio (Leah, Sydney &amp Peter, 2011). This leads inthe avoidance of fat accumulation around the waist. The findingapplies most to individuals at peril for MetS, as a rise in centraladiposity relates to reduced adiponectin expression, as well asinsulin sensitivity after taking a carbohydrate diet in place of MUFAdiet (Leah, Sydney &amp Peter, 2011). An inverse association hasbeen depicted amid flowing levels of adiponectin, percent of body fatand fat collection centrally, particularly visceral adiposity.Likewise, in a different study, an SFA diet was replaced with a MUFAdiet in obese males by employing a randomized crossover strategy indetermining the impacts on body mass and composition. Evaluation ofbody composition depicted a relevant drop in body and fat weightafter MUFA diet (Leah, Sydney &amp Peter, 2011). In addition, thealterations in body and fat weight followed a drop in waist-to-hipfat following introduction to a MUFA diet versus a SFA diet.

Despite research depicting the effectivenessof olive oil as a MUFA in reducing fat buildup, there are studiesdemonstrating that olive oil has the capability of causing body fatbuild up. In a study conducted by (Keita et al, 2013), the outcomesdepict that obesity relies on the fat quantity consumed, ingestionand time of diet treatment. Following a four week treatment ofhigh-fat feeds to rats, there was notable body mass rise, withsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids backing adiposity (Keita etal, 2013). Over the years, consuming a Mediterranean rich diet hasbeen linked with reduced levels of cardiovascular illness. The dietcomprises high intake of olive oil, resulting in reduced energydensity, but more fiber content, which leads to satiation. Thisexplains the drop in body mass, deposit of fat in the abdominal areaas well as blood glucose fasting. Contrary, the research depict thatgiving hypercaloric acid to rats results in more energy ingestion,which might aid visceral fat accumulation (Keita et al, 2013). Theargument is that the metabolic effect of high oleic acid consumptionis inconclusive in human beings, while it apparently results inobesity in rats. Though diet fat intake plays a crucial function inavoiding cardiovascular illness, it is supposed that the entireconsumption of fat, SFA or MUFA, despite its quality enhances theperil of fat buildup and cardiovascular illness (Keita et al, 2013).

It is true that diets containingmonounsaturated fats are better compared to those with saturatedfats. However, just because they are better, does not imply they arerecommendable. MUFA like olive oil might also result in diseasedarteries. In a study involving the feeding of monkeys with amonounsaturated diet, the monkeys had widespread atheroscleroticplaques within the coronary artery (Rudel, Parks &amp Sawyer, 1995).Scientists have long established that monkeys feeding on fat andcholesterol diets lead to atherosclerosis similar to humans. Inaddition, the blood cholesterol points of monkeys react to diversekinds of fats similarly to studies noted in humans (Rudel, Parks &ampSawyer, 1995). Hence, the monkey research assessing the effect ofdiverse kinds of fat on blood lipids, as well as atherosclerosisresults, depict that olive oil consumption may result in fat buildupjust as in the monkeys. The samples fed with similar fat content ofSFA, MUFA and polyunsaturated fats, had increased LDL. Autopsyresults also demonstrated artherosclerotic plaques in all samples.The MUFA and SFA diet was uniformly damaging (Rudel, Parks &ampSawyer, 1995). Monkeys that consumed MUFA had similar levels ofcoronary artery atherosclerosis like in SFA. Although monkeys in theMUFA diet had minimal LDL and more HDL compared to those on a SFAdiet, in the end, both groups had the similar level of harm toarteries (Rudel, Parks &amp Sawyer, 1995).

Olive oil, similar to all fats and oils hascalories concentration. Olive oil comprises of 4,000 calories inevery pound, which is more compared to 1,725 calories content inrefined sugar. Due to its enormously high level of calories,including olive oil in diets results in high calorie density. It is aproblem, since research depicts that enhancing calorie density indiets through adding fat content increases the entire level ofcalories individuals take. Hence, taking a lot of olive oil cansimply result in gaining weight and obesity, outwardly leading topoor wellbeing. It is because gaining weight raises insulinresistance in most individuals and results in an array of metabolicalterations, which enhance heart illness, involving more levels ofcholesterol as well as triglycerides. This is in addition toincreased, less dense LDL particles in the blood.


It is difficult to conclude if olive oilresults in body fat buildup. There is convincing research informingon the effectiveness of olive oil in reducing body fat build up. Thisis because it is a monounsaturated fatty acid. Contrary, otherstudies note that there is no disparity amid MUFA and SFA inenhancing obesity. Therefore, more study needs to be performed todetermine the extent to which fat build up and consumption of oliveoil are related.


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Field, A. E. et al. (2007). Dietary fat and weight gain among womenin the Nurses’ Health Study. Obesity, 15(4), 967-976.

Jones, P. J., Raeini-Sarjaz, M., Ntanios, F. Y., Vanstone, C. A.,Feng, J. Y &amp Parsons, W. E. (2000). Modulation of plasma lipidlevels and cholesterol kinetics by phytosterol versus phytostanolesters. Journal of Lipid Research, 41(5), 697-705.

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Keita, H., Juan, E. R., Paniagua-Castro, N.,Garduno-Siciliano, L &amp Quevedo, L. (2013). The long-termingestion of a diet high in extra virgin olive oil produces obesityand insulin resistance but protects endothelial function in rats: apreliminary study. Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome, 5(53).

Koh-Banerjee, P., Chu, N. F., Spiegelman, D., Rosner, B., Colditz,G., Willett, W &amp Rimm. E. (2003). Prospective study of theassociation of changes in dietary intake, physical activity, alcoholconsumption, and smoking with 9-y gain in waist circumference among 16 587 US men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 78(4),719-27.

Leah, G. G., Sydney, H &amp Peter, J. H.(2011). Dietary Monounsaturated Fatty Acids are Protective againstMetabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors. Lipids, 46(3), 209-28.

Penny, K. M. (1999). Monounsaturated FattyAcids and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease. AHA Science Advisory, 100, 1253-1258.

Richelle, M., Enslen, M &amp Hager, C et al. (2004). Both free andesterified plant sterols reduce cholesterol absorption and thebioavailability of beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol in normocholesterolemic humans. American Journal of ClinicalNutrition, 80(1), 171-177.

Rudel, L. L., Parks, J. S &amp Sawyer, J. K.(1995). Compared with Dietary Monounsaturated and Saturated Fat,Polyunsaturated Fat Protects African Green Monkeys from Coronary Artery Atherosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis,Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, 15,2101- 2110.