Should I Count Calories From Olive Oil?


Counting calories may feel like a challenging task because there is a lot of small details that can get can overwhelming quite quickly. In this article, I will help you out by clarifying should you count calories from olive oil?

You should count calories from olive oil because olive oil has 90-95% of fat content. Every gram of fat provides 9 calories, therefore, if you’re using one tablespoon for cooking, it will add to over 119 calories. If you’re using 2-3 tablespoons, you are consuming additional 220-330 calories.

So depending on your generosity, your cooking skills, and cooking habits, it can add up quite significantly. But there are some ninja tricks you can do to reduce the damage and the number extra of calories.

Does Cooking With Olive Oil Count As Calories?

Cooking with olive oil counts as calories because olive oil is rich in fat and it has 8.8 calories for every gram of oil. Therefore, if you’re using 20 grams of olive oil you will be getting additional 170-180 calories to your meals just from olive oil alone.

The trick to reducing calories is to use as little olive oil as necessary, or if possible, change the cooking method altogether. Counting calories and cooking can feel very confusing. To learn should you weigh a potato before or after cooking check out my article here.

Here are some ninja cooking tips you can consider when you’re worried about calories from olive oil.

Bake in the oven instead of frying

Some foods like french fries, potatoes, or meats can be easily cooked on the baking tray.

Some meats and fish also go well inside the cooking foil.

This way they will save up the moisture and reduce the amount of fat, therefore, lower the calorie number.

Without sacrificing great taste and tenderness.

Grill instead of frying

Grilling is my favorite option because it really adds up flavor into the food and it’s much less calorie loaded.

Of course, you cannot grill french fries.

But what if instead of french fries you could chop potatoes into chips, add some garlic, spices, cocoon with cooking foil (this silver thingy), and place on grill.

Boil instead of frying

The frying makes food taste so much better because fat stimulates palatability sensitivity and improves your appetite.

This means your taste buds go bananas as soon as you fry something.

So you eat more.

But if you’re worried about calories then simply cook your food in boiling water or use a microwave oven.

Dip instead of cooking

If you really like the taste of olive oil then use it as a dip, rather than as a cooking oil.

I love freshly baked bread dipped in Italian olive oil.

Add more water when olive oil

You need to be careful when adding water to the hot pan because it will splash.

But once the fireworks calm down, you can now cook it on water instead of adding olive oil. Water evaporates more easily so just keep on adding some in a small amount.

Related article: Should I Count Calories From Vegetables?

Is Cooking With Olive Oil Fattening?

Cooking with olive oil can be fattening, depending on how much you use. 100 grams of olive oil has 884 calories, therefore, if you use 2 tablespoons for each cooking, it will add up to over 220 calories extra, but if you’re using 4 tablespoons, it will give you 440 calories.

So it all depends on your cooking skills and how much you’re adding. One tip on reducing the fattening effect is simply to reduce the amount you’re using.

When you buy olive oil, try to buy one with the installed drip or a manual pump. So when you’re pouring on your skillet, it doesn’t pour like a tap water, but more of a drizzled serving.

Also consider to buy a spray bottle. Some of the ready-made sprays offer poor quality oils. It is much better to get a designated olive oil glass bottle with a silver spay cap.

This way you can use your favourite brand of oil and refuel whenever needed.

If you wanna learn how to stop counting calories, and still lose weight, check out my article.

How Much Olive Oil Is Absorbed When Cooking?

Most of the olive oil is absorbed when cooking, depending on the type of food your using. For pasta, bread, french fries, onion rings, potatoes, and rice almost all of the olive oil will be absorbed. Also, olive oil acts as a food excipient that can enhance nutrient extraction and bioaccessibility.

This means some foods absorb the olive oil but others will extract their nutrients back into the oil.

For instance, when you fry spices, garlic, onions, or dried tomatoes, all the nutrients, polyphenols and flavors will get extracted from the food into the oil (source).

So then when you add foods like rice, pasta, or meat, all of a sudden, those foods start to absorb olive oil, together with those flavors.

How To Count Oil Calories When Frying?

When frying, calories from oil should be counted as regular calories because during frying most of the oil will get absorbed by the food, therefore, it becomes part of our diet. The amount of oil absorbed will be dependent on the food type, temperature, and cooking time.

This means you simply measure by the amount you’re adding to the food. Here in the chart, you can see how many calories each serving of olive oil contains.

Olive oil quantityCalories
100 grams884 calories
1 tsp (4.5 grams)40 calories
1 tablespoon (13.5 grams)119 calories
1 cup (216 grams)1910 calories
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6025313/

In Conclusion

Calories from olive oil can add up to a substantial amount of calories, especially if you’re using a lot of it. There are some alternatives if you’re concerned about your calorie numbers, and sometimes by simply changing the cooking method, you can decrease a whooping 200-400 calories from a dish.

Also, you can check to look out for some cooking spays that already come with a dispenser that you can stay more in control of your servings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Count Cooking Oil In Your Macros?

You should count cooking oil in your macros because cooking oil contains over 90% of fat. Fat is calorie-dense food with 9 calories for each gram, and depending on the amount of oil you’re using during your cooking it can add up to even 100-300 calories per meal.

Do You Count Cooking Oil When Counting Calories?

You do count cooking oil when counting calories because cooking oil is made mostly of fat, with around 9 calories for every gram. 100 grams of cooking oil have 850 calories, therefore, depending on how much you use, it should be included in your calculations.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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