Fats that fill you

This is another story about olive oil. Just a week ago you read here about olive oil reducing Alzheimer’s risk due to its ingredient oleocanthal. While oleocanthal is the new wonder olive oil ingredient, much of the good news around olive oil over the years has centred around its good monounsaturated fat content. Now, a new study has brought attention to yet another component of olive oil that causes olive oil to make you feel full faster and lead you to eat less.

In the research, subjects were asked to eat 500g of low-fat yoghurt a day. The yoghurts were then enriched with one of four fat sources: lard, butter fat, canola oil or olive oil.

The people who were given olive oil reported that they found the yoghurt very filling and, in contrast to the other groups, no people in the olive oil group gained weight during the study. Blood tests also showed that the olive oil group had higher levels of the satiety hormone serotonin in their blood.

The next step for the researchers was to test the portion of olive oil that they believed to be responsible for these effects. That portion was the aromatic part of the olive oil that contained a series of chemicals called aldehydes. In a second study, one group of subjects were given a yoghurt with these aromatic ingredients of olive oil added while another group was given a plain yoghurt. Again, the control group had less serotonin in their blood.

Further analysis showed that two of these aromatic compounds, known as hexanal and E2-hexenal, which reputedly have the aroma of fresh grass clippings, were responsible for slowing the absorption of glucose from blood into body cells therefore causing people to feel satisfied for longer.

For the study, olive oils from Spain, Greece, Italy and Australia were used. The researchers found that the Italian olive oil was highest in hexanal and E2-hexenal. Of course, the research was done in Germany and Austria.

It is yet more good news regarding olive oil. All those Mediterranean folk just can’t be wrong.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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