Olive oil is good for you. That's not a terribly controversial statement—it's a staple, after all, of the well-regarded Mediterranean diet. The big question has always been why, and while conventional wisdom has held that it's because it contains antioxidants and oleic acid, a new study has shed light on another, somewhat surprising virtue: Olive oil makes you feel more full than other oils and fats. So much so that just smelling olive oil has that effect, the New York Times reports.
First, study participants were given yogurt made with various oils. Those who got the olive oil sample showed higher levels of serotonin in their blood, a hormone signaling satiation, and took in less calories for the rest of the day—even compared to those given canola oil, which has similar nutritional properties. Intrigued, they ran a second study with plain yogurt, this time lacing some of the yogurt with olive oil aroma extract. Sure enough, they scored better on tests for hunger control.