There is no question: olive oil is incredibly healthy and you could say that comparing it to other cooking oils is offensive. Olive oil is liquid gold for health and that is largely due to its high content of monounsaturated fat, a type of dietary fat known to increase “good” HDL cholesterol and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. And while there are many other health benefits to cooking with olive oil regularly, it is also important to note that olive oil is still a fatty food. And the main side effect of cooking a excessive amount of fatty foods is weight gain.
The first point to consider is the calories, although olive oil has a completely healthy caloric intake, it is still a fat! And what happens when using it in the kitchen is that we usually spray the oil without measuring the amount, typical when sautéing some stew or pasta dish and even when preparing salads. To this we must add that most of the bottles of olive oil make spraying and cooking an easy and clean process, therefore if we are not careful with the amount of oil we are using, it is very possible to accumulate calories without realizing it.
For more context: just one tablespoon of olive oil equals around 120 calories, this applies to both the regular and extra virgin oil versions. Now let’s move on to the amount we usually use when cooking It’s never just a tablespoon! Especially when we are cooking some large sautéing, even frying breaded chicken, the amount of oil we use is usually higher and with this, the calories of any dish will automatically increase significantly.
It is true that cooking with olive oil is a great culinary habit and we do not want the information to be misinterpreted. Not in vain is it the base ingredient of the Mediterranean diet classified for the 4th consecutive year as the healthiest and most recommended. Its list of benefits is broad and forceful. Olive oil protects cardiovascular health, fights inflammation, regulates cholesterol and blood sugar, improves digestion and supports digestive function. It is also one of the best sources of healthy fats, which are associated with qualities to stimulate metabolism and enhance fat burning. Nevertheless, if we are not careful with the amount of olive oil we are eating, as with any other healthy fatty food: the calories can still add up and reverse whatever kind of weight loss effort you’ve been looking for.
So olive oil is exceptional, nutritious, and one of the best sources of healthy fats. Therefore uUsing it with caution when cooking is the main measure to avoid gaining weight and continue to obtain its wonderful virtues. So we set about researching the best way recommended by nutritionists to successfully ration olive oil.
An easy way to ration olive oil when cooking:
Probably one of the simplest and favorite tricks of various nutritionists, when it comes to cooking with olive oil is to use a spray bottle. Drizzling vegetables or meats with olive oil can easily control the amount of oil used, it will provide incredible flavor, great nutritional benefits, and significantly reduce the number of calories.
Also another good alternative are olive oil spray bottles, they are easy to buy in the supermarket and a much more precise way to use less oil than necessary. Above all, it is a perfect presentation for frying and sautéing all kinds of food. Now, some recipes usually call for adding the olive oil directly to a pan, and that’s fine! The advice is instead of just pouring in the oil, use measuring spoons and divide the amount of olive oil you use. It is also important not to subject it to high temperatures, some nutrition gurus claim that our beloved “so healthy” olive oil becomes harmful to the heart when heated to temperatures above 200 ºC. What happens when you heat it more than necessary, is that a hydrogenation process, causing the liquid to gain saturation by adding a multitude of hydrogen atoms. It should be mentioned that this is not such a dramatic event: the oil will not release harmful toxins, but it will begin to break down and much of the nutritional value we associate with olive oil, such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, is destroyed by the high heating process.
Now you know, olive oil is still as healthy as ever and is in fact one of the best healthy fat options. It is also a great culinary ally, it goes wonderfully with all kinds of dishes: tapas, snacks, pasta, salads, ceviches, stews, fish, meat and is even added to smoothies and desserts. Just as in all the secret is in moderation.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.