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Does Olive Oil Lose Calories When Heated?

Olive oil: here’s why olive oil’s calorie count stays the same, no matter if it’s hot or not.

What’s up, home cooks? Today, we’re going to talk about a question that’s been cooking in my head ever since one of you reached out to ask it: does olive oil lose calories when it’s heated?

Since you’re here and you’re reading this, I take it it’s brewing in your head, too. Then let’s not let it boil over—trust me, it’s not a great feeling. So let’s get into the facts instead and see what’s what, shall we?

The short answer is no, olive oil does not lose calories when it’s heated. Olive oil gets its calories from the fat that it contains, and fat’s caloric content isn’t affected by heat.

To understand why, let’s first look at what calories actually are. Calories are a measurement unit for the energy contained in our food. They represent how much fuel our bodies use to power our daily activities and keep us going. And when it comes to olive oil, one tablespoon (that’s 13.5 grams) contains 119 calories.

Now, when you’re cooking with olive oil, the heat can cause certain chemical changes to take place, like the oil breaking down into smaller particles. And if you heat it too much, you’ll bring the olive oil to its smoke point, in which case you’ll have other problems.

But here’s the thing: these changes don’t really affect the oil’s calorie count. So no matter how you cook with it—sear, sauté, fry, bake with it, or do as you wish – the calorie count will be the same.

The calories in olive oil come from its main ingredient: fats, a.k.a. lipids. And fats, my friend, don’t just evaporate like a shot of alcohol on a hot summer day when you leave it in the sun. Nope. It stays in the pan, glistening and shimmering, holding that heat so you can get that steak hissing or those fries sizzling.

And so, there you have it. Olive oil doesn’t lose calories when heated. Period. Go ahead and use it to cook your favorite dishes, but know that the calorie count won’t change. Just remember to use it in moderation, as with any cooking oil, to keep your overall calorie intake in check.

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Written by

Dim is a food writer, cookbook author, and the editor of Home Cook World. His first book, Cooking Methods & Techniques, was published in 2022. He is a certified food handler with Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates in Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering, and a trained cook with a Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma.