Is Olive Oil Keto?

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Written by Myra S. Hussain, Medical Doctor and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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The keto diet is a special way of eating that is rich in fats while keeping carb content low.

Even though it's been around since the 1920s, the keto diet has recently seen a resurgence in its popularity, especially among fitness bloggers and celebrities. The popularity of the keto diet can be attributed to the fact that it has an excellent weight loss effect. There is also a lot of emerging evidence for the health benefits of following the keto diet. 

Since the keto diet might seem restrictive at a first glance, it’s natural to wonder which particular food items you are allowed on keto. After all, achieving the right balance between the carb and fat content of your meals is the key to a successful keto diet.

Even though the ketogenic diet is rich in fats, it is very important to be mindful of the type of fats that you include in your diet. 

Consuming a lot of saturated fats is not going to give you the health benefits that you're looking for. This is because the consumption of animal-based saturated fats is linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other health issues. Instead, you should consider incorporating healthy unsaturated fats into your meals. 

Given the fact that olive oil is a plant-based source of natural fats, it would be wise to include it in your keto meal plans. However, is this Mediterranean staple keto? Moreover, are there any health benefits to this popular salad dressing? This article will explore all these questions in detail.


What is olive oil?

Olive oil — the integral component of the Mediterranean diet — is the natural liquid fat derived from pressed olives. 

The use of this ingredient is nothing new. The natives of the Mediterranean have been consuming it since ancient times. Olives even have a special significance in certain religious traditions. 

If you’ve been following any health columns, you might have heard that olive oil is one of the healthiest liquid fats you can use. Even though it has always been a staple in Spain, Italy, and France, it has found its way to kitchens around the globe. A lot of salad dressings and pasta dishes seem incomplete without a drizzle of this golden liquid. 

In the olden days, this food was obtained by crushing olives in stone mills. Even though technology has evolved a lot since those days, the fundamental principle for its extraction remains the same. The modern methods of extraction involve crushing, mixing, and centrifugation. The liquid obtained is then categorized into different grades depending on the quality and purity. 

Some grades that you might have heard about include extra virgin, virgin, and refined. The virgin varieties are extracted using only mechanical methods and are not exposed to chemicals or thermal heat. 

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is considered the best or the gold standard grade. It has excellent taste and odor, and compared to other grades has greater health benefits. 


Olive oil nutrition facts

This food is considered extremely beneficial for health. 

It is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. In addition, it also contains vitamin E and antioxidants. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of this healthy liquid can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and cancer.

The nutrient breakdown is described below. It is based on a serving size of 1 tablespoon.

Serving size: 1 tablespoon (13.5 g)

  • Calories: 119 kcal
  • Fats: 13.5 g
  • Net carbs: 0 g
  • Total carbs: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g

As you can see, it contains zero carbs and has a rich fat content. 

A tablespoon of this liquid contains about  9.9 grams of monounsaturated fats while polyunsaturated fats account for about 1.4 grams. The amount of saturated fats is low at 1.9 grams. 

Apart from having heart-healthy fats, it also contains oleocanthal which has anti-inflammatory properties.




Can you have olive oil on keto?

Yes! For a diet to be considered keto-friendly, it needs to have a low-carb content and should be rich in healthy fats. Since olive oil has zero carb content and primarily contains monounsaturated fats, it is the one of the best foods for keto.

Unlike other high-fat ingredients that might have adverse health effects, the liquid fat obtained from olives has a proven track record of having numerous health benefits. 

Numerous studies have highlighted the Mediterranean diet as being very beneficial for cardiovascular health. Considering that EVOO is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, it is safe to assume that including this ingredient in your keto diet is only going to be beneficial for your health.

The liquid obtained from olives is a rich source of healthy fats. 

A lot of people starting keto fail to make the distinction between healthy and unhealthy fats, which can lead them to make poorer health choices. This is one of the reasons that some people might criticize the ketogenic diet due to its prioritization of fat-based foods. When you realize that not all fats are created equal, it allows you to make healthier choices for your keto meals. 

Therefore, if you’re considering a keto diet, avoid unhealthy, animal-based fats and use plant-based healthy fats like EVOO instead. 


What kind of olive oil can you have on keto?

Since all types are low in carbs and are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, any kind is perfect on a keto meal plan. However, considering that different grades are available in the market, you may be wondering which is the best type of olive oil for keto.

If you're looking for the highest quality available, then you should choose the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). 

Compared to other grades, EVOO has more polyphenols and antioxidants. Moreover, since this variety has undergone the least amount of processing, it retains the most flavor and health benefits. Therefore, when you're out shopping, it is best to look for the words Extra Virgin on the label of the bottle. 




What can you eat with olive oil on keto?

How can you incorporate this healthy ingredient into your everyday diet? Luckily, there are several ways you can use it. 

  • If you’re looking to sauté or stir fry vegetables, substitute your regular cooking oil or butter with olive oil. 
  • You can also use it when you’re frying or cooking meat, fish, or seafood

The liquid fat obtained from olives is very versatile, and delicious, and can be used in several different ways without cooking or heating it. 

  • You can enhance the flavors in a salad by drizzling some olive oil over it. 
  • You can also use it in sauces, marinades, and dips
  • You can also drizzle some on your low-carb toast instead of butter and enjoy a heart-healthy sandwich. 

In short, you can use this ingredient on low-carb foods like vegetables, meats, seafood, and salad. You can also use it when you’re baking keto desserts, so the options are truly endless. All you need is a conscious effort and commitment to a healthy lifestyle.


Alternatives to olive oil on keto

Even though this is one of the healthiest fat sources you can incorporate into your ketogenic regime, there are times when you might need to consider alternatives. 

If you cannot find EVOO:

  • You can consider using other plant-based healthy oils. Some examples of keto-friendly alternatives include coconut, avocado, and palm oils. 
  • Animal-based substitutes include butter, ghee, and animal fats. 

Avocado oil is especially suitable for keto diets because of its high-fat content. Like the liquid fats obtained from olives, this type is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. It has zero carbs so you can use it without worrying about exceeding your daily carb limit. It also has an excellent flavor which makes it a good addition to your salads. However, this product is pricier, so this is one thing you keep in mind. 

If you're looking for a relatively cheaper substitute, coconut oil might be a better option. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) in the coconut oil are converted into ketone bodies by the liver which helps you achieve a state of "ketosis". It is especially good for making keto-friendly desserts. However, it might not be as suitable for keto sauces. Moreover, it has a higher content of saturated fats, which makes it less healthy.

If you’re looking for a healthy fat to add that is not a liquid, whole avocados will do the trick.



All kinds have a high monounsaturated fat content and have zero carbs, so any type is fine for a ketogenic diet. 

However, the best type is extra virgin. This is the least processed and will give you the best health benefits. 

Yes. Longest life expectancies have been associated with the Mediterranean region, and one of the reasons for their longevity might be attributable to their healthy diet of which olive oil is a staple. This ingredient is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are considered exceptionally good for heart health. 

Moreover, it is also rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents which means that it has several health benefits. These reduce the risk of chronic, inflammatory conditions and cancers. There is also evidence to suggest that consumption of this food is linked with a reduced risk of stroke.

Obesity is a risk factor for numerous health conditions, and losing excess weight can help improve health outcomes. 

To lose weight, you should be in a calorie deficit. So, the exact amount of olive oilfor weight loss will depend on your unique situation in terms of calorie needs, amounts of other fat in your diet, physical activity, and metabolic rate. 

Keep in mind that 1 tablespoon has 119 calories, so it’s a good idea to measure out how much you have and include it in your count for the day. Depending on what else you eat, it’s likely you can have 1-3 tablespoons. 

The weight loss effect of this ingredient has been demonstrated in research. In a study published in 2010, a greater weight loss effect was observed in women who consumed an olive oil diet compared to women who were given a low-fat diet. 

The best type for the keto diet is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). It is the highest quality available. It has no carbs, low saturated fats, and a high monounsaturated fat content which makes it an ideal addition to any keto-friendly kitchen. 

Unlike saturated fats, which are not good for the body when consumed in excess, monounsaturated fats have been linked with improved heart health. EVOO is also packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents which help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. 

It can be cooked, heated, or eaten raw. 

You can substitute your regular cooking oil with EVOO. Not only will it enhance the flavor of your meals, but you will also be enjoying a healthier diet. 

A popular way of using it is as a dressing for salads. You can also drizzle it on your favorite keto meals, and get your recommended dietary fat allowance. 

This Mediterranean favorite is incredibly versatile and will be an excellent addition to your keto regime. 

Like any other fruit or vegetable product, this ingredient has a shelf life. Therefore, you must stay on the lookout for the signs that it has gone bad. 

Generally speaking, olive oil has an expiry limit of 18-24 months from when it is bottled. EVOO has a relatively shorter shelf-life and can be kept for up to 12 to 18 months. 

You can find out whether it’s time to throw away those fancy bottles in your pantry by looking for signs that the liquid has gone bad. One way you can do this is by tasting it. If it tastes bitter or rancid, it is longer fit for consumption. Another clue is in the smell. Instead of having a nice fruity smell, bad oil will smell odd. When it’s expired, it loses its health benefits, and while it may not necessarily make you sick, it will ruin the taste of your keto recipes.