Some retailers say health concerns play a small role in the demand for olive oils, but promoting the heart-healthy benefits of monounsaturated oils, such as olive and canola, can't hurt.
Researchers at Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, recently completed the first leg of a study comparing two diets: one a low-fat plan in which 20% of the calories came from fat; the other a plan that allowed 35% of the calories from fat. In the second group, however, the fat came mostly from olive and canola oil, avocados, nuts and other monounsaturated fat.
The second diet reduced the triglycerides, or fats, in the blood, more than the low-fat diet did. "It's a very good thing, because triglycerides are also related to heart disease," said Dr. Frank Saks of Brigham & Women's Hospital, on a WCBS news broadcast Jan. 3.
After six months, participants in both groups lost an average of 10 pounds each, but those on the high monounsaturated fat diet were judged more likely to keep the weight off. The study will continue another year.