Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
How much olive oil should one ingest in a day?
A: Olive oil is excellent for use in food preparation or as a condiment. Because olive oil is so flavorful, a relatively small amount is required to add flavor to food. This reduces the calories and the total fat content of food prepared or served with olive oil compared to food prepared with butter, margarine or other less flavorful oils.
In spite of the health benefits of olive oil, it should not be overused, because like all other edible oils, it is a high source of calories. One tablespoon of olive oil contains about 120 calories.
Consume olive oil in moderation as a condiment. It is important to consider your constitutional body type, lifestyle, amount of daily exercise, and dietary habits. Consult with your health practitioner about what a good nutritional balance is for you.