Calories in olive oil: all the nutritional values

Olive oil is the quintessential condiment, with pride of place on the table and in the Mediterranean diet. It is used to enrich, add flavor and a special touch to the dishes we enjoy everyday and on special occasions.

If we read up on Olive oil label, it becomes obvious how this calories-rich food has a series of nutritional properties that are fundamental for individual health and well-being. 3.5 oz of olive oil contains around 824 kilocalories, but this should not be cause for alarm: a balanced diet is more than just calories counting and should above all consider the nutritional values of foods.

Our Extra Virgin Olive Oil is mostly made up of unsaturated fatty acids, which are considered "good" fats for our body, as not only do they not cause heart disease, but they even play a protective role and help maintain low blood cholesterol levels. Extra virgin olive oil contains virtually no cholesterol, but its does contain Vitamin E, iron, beta-carotene and polyphenols, renowned for their antioxidant properties. So it should be consumed in moderation but never eliminated from our diet.

salmon fillet with olive oil

How many calories in a teaspoon of oil?

A teaspoon amounts to a portion of around 0.15 oz, which contains 40 kilocalories; a spoon on the other hand amounts to around 0.35 oz of oil, so 82 kilocalories. What about a "drizzle of oil"? Generally a drizzle of oil is poured from a thin oil spout and amounts to a spoon roughly. These portions should be considered as average amounts in ounce and vary according to spoon or teaspoon size.

In virtue of the interesting nutritional properties of olive oil, the recommended daily amount as part of a balanced diet is around two spoons of olive oil, the equivalent of around 0.7 oz, so 176 kilocalories per day.

summer salad

Comparing the nutritional values of saturated and unsaturated fats

Not all fats we decide to add to our diet are the same and aside from the amount of calories and nutritional values, we must also consider the fat content, so the percentage of saturated and unsaturated fats it contains, as well as the presence, or otherwise, of cholesterol. These elements are very important because they closely tie in with any cardiovascular risks.

For example, coconut oil contains slightly less calories compared to olive oil (around 862 calories per 3.5 oz of the product), but the fats it contains are almost all saturated and so it has a higher impact on cardiovascular health. This also goes for butter: it contains less calories (around 715 calories per 3.5 oz), because it also contains water, which lowers the amount of calories, but it also contains cholesterol and a very high percentage of saturated fats (around 58% compared to an average of 14.5% in our Olive Oil).

So, if we are to choose which oil to use for cooking, with the same amount of calories, it is best to opt for olive oil instead of seed oil.

pepper salad

Does Extra virgin olive oil lead to weight gain?

Extra virgin olive oil does not lead to weight gain if used in moderation as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Each food that we eat enriches our diet with micro and macronutrients, guaranteeing our overall well-being and enabling us to lead a healthy lifestyle.

The calories in olive oil are fundamental for this purpose as they are a source of energy that is good for our body. However, like with all foods, we shouldn't over do it.

Finding the right balance between what our body needs in order to carry out everyday functions, and the foods we decide to eat, is the right path to follow if we want to stay healthy.