Obesity is a major health issue in the West because people eat large amounts and get little physical exercise. Nowadays, in cities especially, people are adopting a sedentary, stressful life. Over half the population of some industrialised countries is overweight, leading to increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and triglycerides, all factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
WHAT IS OBESITY?
Obesity or overweight is when energy reserves, primarily in the form of fat, are excessive. It occurs when the amount of energy obtained through the diet is greater than the amount of energy expended. It is corrected by ensuring that energy expenditure (physical exercise, basal metabolic rate, etc.) is greater than energy intake.
A good weight-reducing diet should:
• provide less energy than is needed to maintain body weight;
• supply adequate amounts of all the nutrients;
• be acceptable, affordable and palatable.
OLIVE OIL AND OBESITY
Olive oil is a nutrient of great biological value. Like all other fats and oils it is high in calories (9 Kcal per gram), which could make one think that it would contribute to obesity. However, experience shows that there is less obesity amongst the Mediterranean peoples, who consume the most olive oil.
It has been demonstrated that an olive-oil-rich diet leads to greater and longer-lasting weight loss than a low-fat diet. It is accepted better because it tastes good and it is a stimulus to eat vegetables.