Here's Why You May Want To Think Twice Before Cooking With Olive Oil

Olive oil is a main staple of the Mediterranean diet, which has long been celebrated as one of the healthiest diets in the world. Undoubtedly, olive oil does provide many essential health benefits. According to Healthline, olive oil boasts many healthy fats, including omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and a healthy monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. It also contains vitamins E and K and is rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants.

Consuming olive oil regularly has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help lower the risk of many chronic diseases, including stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's disease. The oil can also protect against type 2 diabetes by helping to regulate the body's blood sugar and insulin levels (via Healthline).

However, there is one very important factor to watch out for when cooking with olive oil. While it may be healthy, olive oil is not a low-calorie ingredient. In fact, Very Well Fit explains that a single tablespoon of olive oil contains 119 calories.

Olive oil is fairly high in calories

According to nutrition coach Sarah Pelc Graca, who spoke with HuffPost, it can be very easy to over-use this type of oil, "especially when many people simply pour olive oil from the bottle directly onto salads or vegetables, as opposed to measuring out each portion. In addition, many people use olive oil while cooking healthy foods, but they forget that the oil adds extra calories to the meal." A tablespoon is smaller than you might think, so it is fairly easy to accidentally consume more calories than you intended when adding olive oil to your meals. And these calories can definitely add up over time.

While this certainly doesn't mean you should stop using olive oil entirely, it is probably a good idea to be mindful of your portion sizes. Rather than simply eyeballing your serving sizes, or drizzling it liberally over your meals, it is best to measure out your servings of olive oil. This way, you can still get the many health benefits olive oil provides, without unintentionally going over your daily calorie needs.