If you want to lose weight and keep it off, the keto diet can help. Going keto means cutting your carb intake down to 50 grams or less per day by avoiding foods like bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes. Without carbs, your body is forced to burn more fat for fuel.
Fat is not a very good energy source for your brain or muscles, so your body converts stored body fat and dietary fats into something more useable; ketones. It takes a lot of fat to make relatively few ketones, which is why the keto diet is so good for weight loss.
Most keto dieters lose ten pounds or more in the first two weeks. Detractors are usually quick to point out that most of this weight is water. However, losing water is only the start, and rapid fat loss soon follows.
Getting and staying in ketosis means avoiding certain foods. Accidently eating more than 50 grams of carbs per day will quickly put the brakes on your weight loss. Because of this, most dieters often find themselves asking what foods are keto-friendly.
In this article, we’ll answer the question “are olives keto” and provide you with some helpful information about this popular food.
Are Olives Keto
Are All Olives/Olive Oils Keto?
Let’s cut to the chase – all varieties of olives are very keto-friendly. Olives and olive oil are high in fat but very low in carbs and protein.
While the lack of protein is a minor drawback, it’s the low carb content that means that all varieties of olives and olive oil are perfectly acceptable on the ketogenic diet.
Olives and olive oil are both very nutritious, so it’s actually worth going out of your way to include both in your ketogenic diet. The benefits of olives and olive oil include:
- Better heart health
- Stronger, healthier bones
- Less inflammation
- Lower blood glucose
- Increased antioxidation
Nutritional Values for Olives and Olive Oil
Olives and olive oils contain many of the same compounds but are also so different that it is necessary to treat them as entirely different foods. The nutritional values for 100 grams of olives and olive oil are:
- Olives – 115
- Olive Oil – 828
- Olives – 11 grams
- Olive Oil – 92 grams
- Olives – 0.8 grams
- Olive Oil – 0 grams
- Olives – 6.3 grams
- Olive Oil – 0 grams
- Olives – 3.2 grams
- Olive Oil – 0 grams
- Olives – 3.1 grams
- Olive Oil – 0 grams
Both olives and olive oil are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants called polyphenols.
Olives vs. Olive Oil – What’s the Difference?
Whole olives are the fruit of the olive tree. As a fruit, they have a flesh that contains several different macronutrients, including fat and some carbs. Most of the fat in olives is monounsaturated fat.
Because olives contain fiber and a small number of carbs, 100 grams of olives are lower in calories than the same amount of olive oil, which is a concentrated source of fat.
Olive oil is produced by pressing olives which is a process that literally squeezes the oil from the fruit. The oil obtained from the first pressing is called extra virgin olive oil and is usually extracted using a cold-pressing method and no solvents. It’s then known as cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
Cheaper oils are made from a second or even a third pressing of the olives and may have been exposed to heat and chemical solvents. These products cannot be called cold-pressed or extra virgin.
Calorically, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is very similar to oil made from subsequent pressings, but EVOO is much higher in beneficial nutrients, including vitamin E and antioxidants.
What Olives/Olive Products Are Not Keto?
Olives are a rare fruit. Instead of containing lots of sugar in the form of sucrose, olives are virtually sugar-free. Like avocados, they’re also high in monounsaturated fats, low in carbs, and very keto-friendly. However, while plain, unadulterated olives and pure olive oil ARE perfectly fine on the ketogenic diet, not all olive products are as keto-friendly.
Olive oil products to avoid on keto include:
Just because this tasty Mediterranean product contains olives and olive oil doesn’t make it keto-friendly. Unfortunately, olive bread is more wheat than olives, and that means it’s high in keto-killing carbs.
Like olive bread, olive-flavored crackers are not keto-friendly. They contain too many carbs.
Some Salad Dressings
A lot of salad dressings contain olive oil but may also contain sugar. Olive oil-based salad dressings are NOT automatically keto-approved. Avoid problems by making your own keto salad dressing from extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and chili flakes.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all olive-based products are keto-friendly. This is not always the case. Stop and read the nutrition label of any food before you buy or eat it to make sure it won’t kick you out of ketosis.
The Nutritional Benefits of Olives and Olive Oil
Olive and olive oil are both nutritional powerhouses that are loaded with beneficial, health-boosting compounds. Olives are a big part of the Mediterranean diet, which, according to doctors, is one of the healthiest diets around.
Nutritional benefits of olives include:
Lowered risk of coronary heart disease (CHD)
CHD is the leading cause of premature death in the Western World. Eating foods high in monounsaturated fats, such as olives and olive oil, has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, which is the obstruction of the arteries that supply the heart with blood.
Consuming olive and olive oil is good for your skin and can help treat irritation and inflammation. Skin products containing olive oil are very popular for this reason.
Inflammation is the reddening and swelling of cells and tissues and is a leading cause of chronic disease.
Olives and olive oil are high in natural inflammatory compounds. Less inflammation means less joint pain, easier weight loss, lower blood sugar, better brain health, and longer, healthier life.
More Stable Blood Glucose
Consuming olives and olive oil can help increase insulin sensitivity, which in turn helps to keep your blood glucose levels low and stable. This is useful for weight management and also for reducing the risk of diabetes.
Olives are low in calories and high in fiber. This makes them very filling. Eating a few olives instead of something like potato chips or crackers means you’ll consume fewer calories and feel fuller for longer. That’s a weight loss win-win!
How Much Olive/Olive Oil Can You Have on Keto?
Because olive oil is carb and sugar-free, you can use it freely on the ketogenic diet. Olive oil is useful for cooking, using as a dressing, or as an ingredient in other keto-friendly recipes. It’s unlikely that, when used sensibly, you’ll ever consume too much olive oil!
Olives contain some carbs, and while it’s not a lot, eating too many olives could kick you out of ketosis. Subsequently, most keto dieters should limit themselves to about 20 olives per day, which is about 120 calories and five grams of net carbs.
Olives are also available stuffed, and some contain things like feta cheese, sweet peppers, and almonds. Make sure you consider these fillings when deciding how many olives to eat, as they all add calories and carbs to your nutritional intake.
Deciding what to eat on keto is not always easy. High carb foods like bread, rice, pasta, cereal, and potatoes are clearly off the menu because they’re very high in carbohydrates, but other foods are less obvious. That’s why, amongst keto dieters, the most question is usually “is it keto?”
The good news is that both olives and olive oil are VERY keto-friendly. They’re low in carbs, high in fats, and good for your health too. Olives, despite being a fruit, are low in carbs, while olive oil is actually carb-free and contains nothing but fat.
Olives make great keto snacks, and the high fiber content means they’re very filling. They’re also low in calories, and a ten-olive serving contains about 50 calories.
Olive oil is very versatile, and you can use it as a dressing or for cooking. The best type of olive oil is made from the first pressing of the olives and is called extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO for short. However, EVOO can be expensive. Later pressings are still keto-friendly but aren’t as healthy. They are cheaper, though.
While olives and olive oil deserve to be part of your ketogenic diet, steer clear of things like olive bread and commercial salad dressings made with olive oil. These types of food products invariable contain too many carbs to be considered keto-friendly.
Instead, stick to pure olives and olive oil, both of which can help you lose weight and stay healthy.