Produzione e vendita olio extravergine di oliva pugliese

Calories of olive oil: what are the nutritional values?

What are the nutritional values of extra virgin olive oil? And how many calories does a tablespoon of oil have? Let’s find out together

Reduce it – if necessary – but never eliminate it altogether. This is what nutritionists say about extra virgin olive oil in the context of slimming diets and low-calorie diets. Yes, because the nutritional values and calories of extra virgin olive oil are of great importance for our health.

As much as it is part of fats, in fact, oil is too valuable to think about not consuming it as part of a healthy, however restrictive, eating style.

Olive oil is in fact rich in nutrients and elements that are very important for the human organism and its health; among the main ones are:

  • Vitamin E
  • Linoleic acid
  • Polyphenols
  • Monounsaturated fats
  • polyunsaturated fats

The value of these nutrients is recognised with the possibility of labelling so-called ‘health claims‘ that emphasise their presence and benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is also essential to aid digestion, promote peristalsis and improve the assimilation of nutrients (e.g. vitamins) contained in other foods.

Olive oil calories and other nutritional values: let’s find out together

How many calories does extra virgin olive oil have? Let us take a closer look at the nutritional values of extra virgin olive oil and understand how to adjust the quantities so as not to give up the pleasure and benefits of extra virgin olive oil even if we have to cut calories.

Let’s start with the fact that 100 grams contain 899 kcal, totally provided by the lipids (most of which are monounsaturated fatty acids rich in health-promoting properties). This means that the calories of a tablespoon of oil – about 10 grams, while a teaspoon measures half as much – are a meagre 90.

But in addition to the kcal, the same tablespoon of oil also contains other valuable substances such as vitamin E (about one gram) and linoleic acid (just under one gram); among the main properties oflinoleic acid, we would like to point out its cholesterol-lowering: it helps to lower cholesterol levels in the blood and in particular those of LDL, the so-called ‘bad cholesterol’.

When it comes to the calories of olive oil, therefore, we are not talking about ’empty’ calories, but an important building block in the framework of daily nutritional requirements.

Olive oil: calories and… unique properties

But how does the discussion change when we talk about the calories of olive oil and those of other oils? And where is the difference between the nutritional value of extra virgin olive oil and that of other oils? Contrary to what one might think, from a caloric point of view, other vegetable oils – i.e. extracted from seeds such as rapeseed or sunflower seeds, or from other products such as maize or peanuts – are equivalent to olive oil (extra virgin or not) or differ little from it.

These oils too often have interesting health properties (think for example of linseed oil, rich in essential polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6), but they do not reach the complexity and importance of extra virgin olive oil (and this also applies to non-extra virgin olive oils).

Moreover, most of the vegetable oils commonly on the market are not extracted mechanically – by pressing or other similar processes as is the case with extra virgin, but through the use of chemical solvents or other processes that affect their nutritional profile. This is why, for the same number of calories, it is not worth giving up extra virgin oil in favour of other seed oils.

Olive oil and nutritional values: how to read the label

It will also be useful to pay attention to the oil label you intend to buy, which is full of useful information on many aspects, including the nutritional values of extra virgin olive oil. As of 2016, it is in fact mandatory to include the ‘nutritional declaration’ on the label, implementing an EU regulation in force since 2011. On the label we therefore find mentioned:

  • energy value (expressed in kcal)
  • il contenuto di grassi, acidi grassi saturi
  • carbohydrate content
  • sugar content
  • protein content
  • salt content

Indications about the content of monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, polyols, starch, fibre are also optional; other values not expressly provided for may not be given.

Calories extra virgin olive oil: how to use oil in low-calorie diets?

Staying on the subject of extra virgin olive oil and calories, then, how much extra virgin olive oil should be used in a normal diet and when following a diet based on a reduced calorie intake? To take advantage of the considerable beneficial properties of a good quality extra virgin oil, the recommended daily amount of extra virgin oil is about three tablespoons, which equals about 270 calories.

If you are on a diet, you can limit yourself to two tablespoons of extra virgin oil, perhaps ‘cutting’ the total calorie count by giving up the less nutritionally important ones (e.g. those provided by alcohol or added sugars).

Another useful indication is to favour its use raw, avoiding fried foods and overly seasoned sauces to keep its nutritional properties intact. Once again, it is worth emphasising the importance of choosing a quality olive oil. In addition to being richer in polyphenols and other beneficial substances, a top-quality product also has the advantage of having a better and often – depending on the variety and other choices made during harvest and production – more intense flavour; this means that only a little is needed to give a unique and very pleasant taste to every dish.

Extra virgin olive oil is an ally when it comes to kcal and nutritional values: a little is enough to enrich a dish with flavour. All the more so when it is of the highest quality, like Frantoio Muraglia’s signature oil. Our oils provide an extraordinary aroma and flavour, suited to everyone’s palate.

From those who love strong flavours, like those of the Aromatic Chilli Oil or Intense Fruity, to those who prefer more balanced flavours, like those of Medium Fruity. And for those who always want to experiment with new flavours, here are our Aromatic Oils: a whole range of oils born from the contamination with other Italian excellences, such as Basilico Genovese DOP or Limone di Rocca Imperiale.


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